BSA finds hardship for YMCA in former courthouse

YMCA sought to expand gym, install cardio center. YMCA of Greater New York sought a variance for its building at 69-02 64th Street from lot coverage and side yard requirements to facilitate its expansion. The building, a former courthouse characterized by a horseshoe-shape and a narrow central courtyard, is already out of compliance with lot coverage and side yard requirements for community facilities within an R5 zoning district. The expansion would fill in the open courtyard, further increasing the building’s lot coverage and minimizing its side yards.

YMCA argued that the building’s existing layout did not allow for efficient floor plates and hindered proper pedestrian circulation. According to YMCA, it was infeasible to expand the building as-of-right while abiding by lot coverage and side yard restrictions because it was already non-compliant.

YMCA also argued that the variance is necessary because the building needed to expand in order to meet YMCA’s programming needs, which include after-school childcare and summer camps. The expansion would create a large, continuous space for a new cardio center, and a bigger gym that could handle the growing number of YMCA members. YMCA did not present any evidence of economic hardship.

BSA granted the variance, finding that YMCA’s programmatic needs, combined with the limitations of its existing building, created an unnecessary hardship. BSA further noted that the home adjacent to the YMCA building would be minimally impacted by the variance from the side yard requirement, as the home lacks any windows facing the YMCA. Lastly, BSA noted that a finding of economic hardship was unnecessary as YMCA is a nonprofit institution.

BSA: 69-02 64th Street, Queens (215-07- BZ) (Dec. 4, 2007) (Sheldon Lobel, P.C., for YMCA). CITYADMIN

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