BSA denied variance to Sheepshead Bay residence

Owner sought to enlarge one-family home. The owner of 2026 Avenue T, a 2,640-square-foot corner lot in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, sought a variance to enlarge a 3,001-square-foot residence. The existing structure, already noncomplying, is 1,020 sq.ft. larger than allowed in an R4 district.

Initially, the owner sought a special permit to enlarge the residence into the south side yard with an additional 470 sq.ft. BSA, however, ruled that the proposal was ineligible because the zoning resolution did not authorize BSA to grant a special permit where the aggregate width of the proposed side yards would be less than the required 13 feet.

The owner revised its application and sought a variance, arguing that the sloped roof resulted in an “obsolete” attic design and that the shallow 60-foot lot depth created a hardship due to the existing building’s location and side yard requirements. The owner also argued that the residence was functionally obsolete because it was smaller than others in the area. In support of its arguments, the owner submitted a comparison study of 27 other homes in the area.

In denying the variance, BSA noted that the lot size was not a unique condition since 40 percent of the homes in the study were similarly constrained by lot size. BSA also stated that it had never considered attic space to be a unique physical condition that would justify a variance. Although the entire floor area may not have a full ceiling height, the attic was still suitable for a variety of uses. BSA also rejected the owner’s argument about the overall size of the home, noting that approximately 75 percent of the homes in the owner’s study had floor areas that were less than or equal to the owner’s residence without considering the attic’s floor area.

BSA: 2026 Avenue T (382-04-BZ) (Eric Palatnik, PC, for applicant). CITYADMIN

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