Extra floor allowed for small Chelsea building

BSA allowed seventh floor despite community board objection. Steve Edelson, the owner of 209 West 20th Street, a 2,309-square-foot lot in Chelsea, proposed to replace a vacant one-story garage with a seven-story, 7,090-square-foot residential building with twelve units. The seventh floor would exceed the R8B district’s 60-foot height limitation and provide one additional unit setback atop the structure.

Edelson argued that the site’s shallow 81-foot depth coupled with the district’s 30-foot rear yard requirement made a seventh floor necessary to realize a reasonable return. Edelson also argued that the proposed construction would be consistent with similarly sized adjacent and surrounding buildings.

Community Board 4 agreed that the seven-story building would fit within the scale of the block but opposed the application, claiming that the site was not unique and did not support a claim for hardship. The Board pointed out that the lot’s shallowness was not uncommon in the neighborhood and that similar lots had been efficiently utilized without a variance. The Board criticized Edelson’s proposal as inefficient and requested alternate proposals showing the building’s use as condominium space.

Edelson submitted alternate conforming use designs for both a five-story and a six-story condominium but argued that he could not realize a reasonable return with any use under seven stories.

BSA determined that none of the alternate designs were feasible, finding that there was no reasonable possibility that as-of-right development would provide a reasonable return and agreed that Edelson’s seven-story proposal was compatible with the neighborhood.

BSA: 209 West 20th Street (15-05-BZ) (August 9, 2005) (Irving J. Gotbaum, for Edelson). CITYADMIN

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.