Buildings wins order to remove sign

ALJ declined to alter agreement that prevented Buildings from enforcing certain Zoning Resolution provisions relating to advertising signs. Buildings inspectors observed an advertising sign exceeding 200 sq.ft. on a building’s facade at 67 Greenwich Street in lower Manhattan. The building’s C5-5 zoning prohibited advertising signs and restricted non-illuminated signs to 200 sq.ft. Buildings charged the facade occupant OTR Media Group Inc. and building owner Syms Corp. with violating the Zoning Resolution and the construction code, and sought an order of removal.

OTR and Syms sought to dismiss the charge, arguing that the sign was located within 200 ft. of an arterial highway, and as such, fell within the scope of a prior agreement between Buildings and OTR that enjoined Buildings from enforcing certain advertising sign regulations. Under the agreement, Buildings could not seek to remove OTR advertising signs located within manufacturing districts or C6-5, C6- 7, C7, and C8 commercial districts until the courts decided an OTR constitutional challenge to certain sections of the Zoning Resolution. Although the building was located in a C5-5 district, OTR and Syms believed the agreement applied in this instance since the sign, like those protected under the agreement, was in a commercial district near a major highway.

OATH ALJ Kara J. Miller recommended that Buildings order removal of the sign, finding that the unpermitted sign created a public nuisance. Miller refused to change the agreement so that it would apply to the sign at issue. She determined that OATH did not have the authority to modify the agreed upon settlement terms.

Buildings v. 67 Greenwich St., OATH Index No. 1666/09 (April 10, 2009) (Miller, ALJ). CITYADMIN

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