BSA Grants Permit to Enlarge Special District Building in Brooklyn

Eric Palatnik testifies before the Board of Standards and Appeals. Image credit: BSA

Eric Palatnik testifies before the Board of Standards and Appeals. Image credit: BSA

The Board granted the permit after confirming the neighborhood’s character would not be altered. On March 10, 2015 the Board of Standards and Appeals granted a special permit to Athina Orthodoxou to enlarge a non-complying two-story two-family home at 337 99th Street, in an R4-1 zoning district in the Special Bay Ridge District of Brooklyn.  The Special District was established in 2005 to protect Bay Ridge from high-density development.  (See additional CityLand coverage here.)

The permit will allow the building to expand and convert into a two-family home by expanding a basement residential unit and decreasing the rear yard depth from 35’ 8” to 20’.  On June 28, 2014 the Department of Buildings denied the applicant’s permit on the basis of the excess bulk of the proposed building.  The existing building has an FAR of 0.97, in excess of 0.75 FAR maximum permitted by the zoning district, and the proposal would expand the building further to 1.16 FAR.

The Board held public hearings on the request for a special permit on October 21, 2014, November 25, 2014, January 6, 2015, and February 10, 2015.  At the October hearing, applicant’s counsel Eric Palatnik explained the subject building currently exceeds FAR limits because it was constructed before the current zoning regulations were adopted in 1961, along with all other properties within four hundred feet of the subject site save one.  At the February hearing, Mr. Palatnik discussed a rear yard study demonstrating that the proposed 20’ rear yard on the basement level was in keeping with other homes in the area.

On March 10, 2015 the Board voted 4-0 to approve the permit.  In its decision, the Board noted neither the total height of the subject building nor the wall height would increase under the proposal.  The Board also found the proposed enlargement would not alter the essential character of the surrounding Special Bay Ridge District or impair the future use and development of the area.

BSA: 337 99th Street, Brooklyn (45-14-BZ) (Mar. 10, 2015) (Eric Palatnik, P.C., for Athina Orthodoxou, owner).

By:  Michael Twomey (Michael is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2014)

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