Enlargement and Conversion of Commercial Building to Residential Approved

Board granted a use variance to expand and convert three-story building for residential use, but did not address existing cellar and ground floor uses. On September 16, 2014, the Board of Standards and Appeals partially approved a use variance for Susan Golick, the owner of a commercial building at 220 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. The variance permits Ms. Golick to convert the building’s second and third floor to residential use and to build an additional fourth and partial fifth floor.

The building is located in an M1-5B zoning district, which does not permit residential use as of right. At the time of the approval, the building’s ground floor and cellar were used as retail space, which is not in conformance with M1-5B regulations. The Board remained silent about the retail use in the building’s ground floor and cellar.

On May 6, 2014, a public hearing was held, with continued hearings on June 24, July 29, and August 19. Marvin Mitzner, counsel for Ms. Golick, proposed the new building be five stories and the second through fifth floors be occupied by a single-family residence. The owner stated the physical conditions at the site create an unnecessary hardship in developing the site in conformance with the zoning regulations. The owner argued the building is obsolete for a manufacturing use because of small floor plates, the absence of elevators, the absence of a loading dock, and constrained vehicle circulation and parking conditions which inhibit access to the building. The application also requested the variance grant approval for the preexisting retail use in the ground floor and cellar, but the request was later withdrawn. Manhattan Community Board 2 recommended approved of the application on the condition there not be an eating or drinking establishment on site.

On September 16, 2014, the Board voted 3-0 with one abstention to grant the variance. The Board stipulated this variance does not convey approval for the preexisting retail in the building or for any other nonconforming use in the building, stating continuance of the retail use was subject to the Department of Buildings’ review and approval.

BSA: 220 Lafayette Street, Manhattan (294-13-BZ) (Sep. 16, 2014) (Law Offices of Marvin B. Mitzner, Esq., for Susan Golick, owner).

By: Jonathan Manfre (Jonathan is a CityLaw Intern and a Student at New York Law School, Class of 2015).

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