APPENDICES A. Digest of Open-Space Zoning Provisions in New York City

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APPENDIX A DIGEST OF OPEN-SPACE ZONING PROVISIONS NEW YORK CITY In 1961 New York City enacted a zoning resolution that gave developers a floor-area bonus for providing plaza space. For each square foot of plaza space, the builder was allowed 10feet of additional commercial floor area. The requirement of the plazas was that they be accessible to the public at all times. That, as it turned out, was about all they were. The 1975 amendments required that plazas be amenable to the public as well, and laid down specific guidelines for insuring that they would be. The guidelines are presented here in slightly abridged form. 1975 ZONING AMENDMENTS Seating There shall be a minimum of 1 linear foot of seating for each 30 square feet of urban plaza area, except that for urban plazas fronting upon a street having a grade change of at least 2.25 feet in 100feet or for through-block urban plazas, there shall be minimum of 1 linear foot of seating for each 40 square feet of urban plaza area. Seating shall have a minimum depth of 16 inches. Seating with backs at least 12 inches high shall have a minimum depth of 14 inches. Seating 30 inches or more in depth shall count double provided there is access to both sides. Seating higher than 36 inches and lower than 12 inches above the level of the adjacent walking surface shall not count toward meeting the seating requirements. The tops of walls including but not limited to those which bound planting beds, fountains, and pools may be counted as seating when the conform to the dimensional standards above. [344] APPENDIX A Movable seating or chairs, excluding seating of open air cafes, may be credited as 30 inches of linear seating per chair. No more than 50 percent of the credited linear seating capacity may be in movable seats which may be stored between the hours of 7 P.M.and 7 A.M. Steps, seats in outdoor amphitheaters, and seating of open air cafes do not count toward the seating requirements. For the benefit of handicapped persons, a minimum of 5 percent of the required seating shall have backs. Planting and Trees At least one tree of 3.5 inches caliper or more shall be planted for each 25 feet of the entire street frontage of the zoning lot. They shall be planted with gratings flush to grade in at least 200 cubic feet of soil per tree, with a depth of soil at least 3 feet 6 inches. Trees within an urban open space: For an urban plaza 1,500 square feet or more in area, 4 trees are required. For an urban plaza 5,000 square feet or more in area, 6 trees are required. For an urban plaza 12,000 square feet or more in area, 1 tree is required for every 2,000 square feet, or fraction thereof, of urban plaza area. Where trees are planted within an urban open space, they shall measure at least 3.5 inches in caliper at the time of planting. They shall be planted in at least 200 cubic feet of soil with a depth of soil of at least 3 feet 6 inches and be planted either with gratings flush to grade, or in a planting bed with a continuous area of at least 75 square feet exclusiveof bounding wall, and at a maximum spacing of 25 feet apart. Planting: When planting beds are provided, they shall have a soil depth of at least 2 feet for grass or other ground cover, and 3 feet for shrubs. Retail Frontage Except for that portion of a sidewalk widening along a narrow street, at least 50 percent of the total frontage of building walls of the development fronting on an urban open space, or fronting on an arcade adjoining an urban open space, exclusive of such frontage occupied by vertical circulation elements, building lobbies, and frontage used for subway access, shall be allocated for occupancy by retail or service establishments permitted by the applicable district regulations, but not including banks, loan offices, travel agencies, or airline offices. In addition, libraries, museums, and art galleries shall be permitted. All such uses shall be directly accessible from the urban open space or adjoining arcade. Lighting Urban open spaces shall be illuminated throughout with an overall minimum average level of illumination of not less than 2 horizontal foot candles (lumens per foot). Such level of illumination shall...


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