ECB Upholds Buildings Advertising Signs Violation in Brooklyn

Department of Buildings ruled this sign at 302 Metropolitan Avenue was illegal. Image credit: Google

Department of Buildings ruled this sign at 302 Metropolitan Avenue was illegal. Image credit: Google

Board agreed zoning prohibited advertising signs painted on the wall.  On March 29, 2014 the Department of Buildings issued five notices of violation against the Respondent, Metropolitan Avenue 298-308 Associates, Inc., for a prohibited outdoor advertising company sign painted onto the wall of 302 Metropolitan Avenue and failing to comply with previous Buildings orders in 2011 to correct previously-displayed signs.

Respondent contested the notices with the Environmental Control Board, arguing the notices didn’t provide adequate notice of the charge and the notices placed the building in the wrong zoning lot, testifying the sign was permitted under the applicable MX-8 special mixed-use zoning.  Respondent also argued they had complied with previous notices, as the sign cited in 2011 was removed and the sign cited in 2014 was different.  The hearing officer sustained the five notices, agreeing with Buildings that the MX-8 district was still subject to C6-1 district sign regulations, and finding that Respondent continuing to display signs from the 2011 period through the 2014 notice failed to correct the 2011 notices to remove the signs completely.

On appeal, Respondent argued Buildings failed to prove the local zoning prohibited the sign and that removing the sign cited in 2011 to replace it with another still complied with the 2011 order to remove the sign.  On April 30, 2015 the Board denied the appeal.  In its finding, the Board pointed out Zoning Resolution §123-40 holds special mixed-use districts are governed by C6-1 district sign regulations and Zoning Resolution § 32-63 bars advertising signs in C6-1 districts.  The Board also found changing the form of the sign on the side of the wall did not correct the violating conditions cited in 2011, in that there was a sign there at all.

NYC v. Metropolitan Avenue 298-308 Associates, Inc., Appeal No. 1500176 (Apr. 30, 2015).

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

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