The Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance Foundation welcomes you to our blog where in our members and other interested parties can comment on issues we present for comment. Currently, the Foundation wants to formulate a policy with regard to the City’s current stance on transferring air rights. We know there are both positive and negative consequences to the current law and we think that City residents may want to rethink that policy and effect change. Or perhaps the decision will to be leave the law as it now stands.
Pro: Transferring air rights from landmarked buildings allows the landmarked properties to remain financially viable (from the income derived from the sale of the air rights) when the alternative might be to apply for a hardship exemption and request permission to demolish the landmarked building.
Con: Transferring an air right violates the zoning for a property receiving the transferred right thus diminishing the quality of the surrounding neighborhood which now has an out-of-context and out-of-character building in its midst. Zoning variances are already making a mockery of zoning.
Question: Should air right transfers be allowed to further erode the integrity of the zoning of a given neighborhood? Can the law be modified to still allow financial benefits to a landmarked property but minimize the impact on the property to which the air right has been transferred? We welcome your input. The Foundation will analyze the arguments and propose a position for us to take and advocate.