Five-story building approved for triangular lot

Underground storage tanks contribute to hardship. The owner of 1 Seventh Avenue South proposed to replace an existing auto service center with a five-story, mixed-use development.

The owner argued that the triangular shape of the small lot, the presence of four, 550-gallon under ground storage tanks, one waste-oil underground storage tank, gasoline contamination of the soil, the site’s proximity to the subway, and a nearby truck route to the Holland Tunnel created a hardship. The applicant elaborated that the 1,600-squarefoot lot did not contain enough area to permit an as-of-right multiple dwelling. The applicant also stated that it would need to take considerable protective measures during construction due to the site’s proximity to the subway and that site remediation would be costly.

BSA questioned whether the requested waiver, to increase the allowable FAR from 3.44 to 5.5, was the minimum relief necessary. The owner submitted an analysis of a building with an FAR of 5.0, but concluded that a reasonable rate of return could not be obtained.

Although BSA stated that proximity to the Holland Tunnel was not a unique hardship because many sites in the area are similarly affected, it determined that a reasonable rate of return could not be obtained with as-of-right development. The owner agreed to develop the building according to the Quality Housing Program.

BSA: 1 Seventh Avenue South (156-05- BZ) (January 10, 2006) (Charles Rizzo & Associates, for applicant).

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