Developer fails to beat down-zoning deadline

Area rezoned minutes before applicant obtained a new building permit. BSA denied applications to renew a new building permit and extend the time to complete the foundation for a proposed building at 3329 Giles Place in Van Cortlandt Village, the Bronx. After the City Council approved the down-zoning of a 15-block area of Van Cortlandt Village on September 28, 2004, (1 CityLand 4 (Oct. 15, 2004)), Buildings issued a stop-work order to GRA V LLC, the developer, because the proposed building was no longer compliant with zoning.

The developer applied to BSA to extend the time to complete the foundation of the proposed 7-story, 63-unit residential apartment building, claiming that a full new building permit had been issued on September 28, 2004, prior to the rezoning. At the January 11, 2005 hearing, upon finding that the new building permit was issued minutes after the Council vote on the rezoning, BSA stated that it was inclined to deny the request because the developer lacked a valid permit prior to the effective time of the rezoning. The developer asked BSA to delay its final decision while it sought to appeal Buildings’ stopwork order.

On appeal, the developer again argued that it had a valid permit and also claimed its right to continue with construction because it started work and incurred substantial costs relying on its permit. Buildings responded that the developer obtained the permit after the effective time of the rezoning. The developer’s permit was issued at 3:56 p.m. on September 28, 2004, but Buildings argued that the rezoning was effective at 3:20 p.m. when the City Council adjourned for the day. The developer countered that BSA had, in past decisions, taken into account ULURP’s 5-day window for mayoral review, thereby making the effective time of the rezoning five days after the Council’s vote.

BSA, declining to follow its prior decisions, ruled that the effectiveness of a rezoning is at the time of the Council’s vote. BSA also found that the developer did not have the right to continue with construction despite the amount of construction and expenses incurred because the foundation work was performed under an invalidly issued foundation permit. As a result, BSA denied both the appeal and the request for an extension to complete the foundation.

BSA: 3329/3333 Giles Place (346-04- BZY) (August 9, 2005); BSA: 3329/3333 Giles Place (17-05-A) (August 9, 2005) (Jordan Most, for GRA V LLC; Charles G. Moerdler, for Community Board 8). CITYADMIN

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