Board found complying with Multiple Dwellings Law prohibited full development of zoned area. On May 19, 2015 the Board of Standards and Appeals voted to grant the applicant, BBD & D Inc, a permit to construct a penthouse at 237 East 72nd Street in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The penthouse unit will expand the current building from four stories in height to five.
On April 8, 2014 the Department of Buildings denied the applicant’s permit to construct the penthouse because the Multiple Dwellings Law prohibited increase in height or stories. On May 5, 2014 the applicant requested a special permit from the Board.
Public hearings were held on September 23, 2014, with continued hearings on November 18, and January 27 and April 21, 2015. Bernard Marson, the project architect, testified the building is zoned for a floor area ratio of 3.0 yet the building itself only has a FAR of 2.0. Mr. Marson argued compliance with the MDL creates a practical difficulty and unnecessary hardship as the applicant cannot fully develop the site to the extent permitted by the zoning district. Mr. Marson also testified the expansion would include numerous fire safety upgrades for the entire building as well as a new skylight to provide air and light for the building stairwell.
On May 19, 2015 the Board voted 4-0 to approve the permit. In its final decision, the Board agreed the proposed fire safety measures would substantially outweigh any impact from the proposed enlargement. The Board found the proposal would maintain the spirit and intent of the MDL while preserving public health, safety, and welfare.
BSA: 237 East 72nd Street (95-14-A) (May 19, 2015) (Bernard Marson for BBD & D, Inc., owner.)
By: Michael Twomey (Michael is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2014).