The approved plan creates a “St. George Special District” for parts of Staten Island’s ferry-accessible St. George and Tompkinsville neighborhoods, currently C4-2 zones, which allow mixed but limited uses. New rules and regs are expected to encourage creation of new retail frontage, conversion of moribund commercial to residential space, and all the other things that cause people to describe formerly decrepit neighborhoods as “vibrant.”
While the Plan strives to achieve this by removing restrictions on what owners may do with their properties, it also mandates certain quality-of-life-improving features in new buildings — for example, residential developments or enlargements with ten or more units must supply “one bicycle parking space… for every two dwelling units, up to a maximum of 200 bicycle parking spaces.”
The Plan also “require[s] a tall, slender, building form that reflects its hillside topography and maintains waterfront vistas.”
What is this meant to accomplish, besides niceness? Runnin’ Scared recalls that luxury units have been tried in St. George since the 1980s at least, but the expected mass migration of Wall-Streeters, lured by ferry access, has never quite happened. A few years ago, St. George condos were becoming a drag on the market. But developers kept developing them because what else are developers going to do? But they could get tired of doing it there.
Look at the Plan and see what it allows and encourages: higher towers, more modern touches, more parking. Maybe current residents will like it, too, but builders are sure to be pleased.