BSA refuses to grandfather constructed condos

Developer built Park Slope condos based on erroneously granted permits. In 1998, Flan Realty LLC purchased three contiguous lots; one on 14th Street and two on 15th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues in Park Slope, Brooklyn. In 2000, Buildings approved Flan’s site plan to develop each lot with a fourstory, eight-unit condominium building. The three buildings were part of a single condominium offering plan, but due to a lack of financial resources, Flan only obtained a permit for the 14th Street building. It completed construction and obtained a certificate of occupancy in 2002.

On April 30, 2003, the City rezoned parts of Park Slope, down-zoning Flan’s three lots from R6 to R6B, which made the completed building and the two proposed buildings non-complying as to floor area ratio, maximum base height, and maximum building height. Despite the change, on May 7, 2003 Flan obtained work permits to construct the two remaining buildings. Work continued until late 2005. With the condos almost complete, the Department of Buildings told Flan to stop work and found that Flan had no claim for grandfathering since it lacked valid permits prior to the down-zoning.

Flan appealed to BSA, arguing that the three buildings were part of a single integrated project, and since Buildings approved a site plan showing all three buildings, the completed 14th Street building established rights to complete the other buildings. Since it nearly completed construction and already sold all the units, Flan claimed the equities tipped in favor of the new condo owners and approval of the permits.

BSA denied Flan’s arguments. BSA noted that it would not apply the single integrated project theory to small projects because past application of the principle involved projects on large tracts of land where street construction or other large infrastructure delayed permits. Flan could easily have obtained valid permits for each building before the zoning changed, and, in fact, its lack of financial resources and not a need for shared physical infrastructure caused the delay. Even if the theory were applicable, BSA noted that Flan failed to show that a physical improvement connected all three buildings. Since Flan failed to research the new zoning and redesign the condos before construction, it could not call the result unfair.

BSA: 357, 359 15th Street (154-06-A, 155-06-A) (Jan. 9, 2007) (Howard Hornstein, Cozen O’Connor, for Flan Realty LLC; Lisa M. Orrantia, Amandus Derr, for DOB). CITYADMIN

CITYLANDComment: Flan Realty is not planning to appeal the decision, but is contemplating filing a variance application. Absent an appeal or variance, Flan will need to remove the top story from both buildings to comply with current zoning.

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