In a three-two decision, BSA found that side lot ribbon existed even though that portion of the zoning lot was not completely open to the sky. The owners of 846 70th Street applied to Buildings for a new 10ft. curb cut that would facilitate off-street parking in the front yard of their attached home. The home is one of 19 continuously attached homes in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. Buildings granted the permit, finding that, when no more than two parking spaces are required, off-street parking for a residential building in an R4-1 district is permitted within any portion of the side lot ribbon, the 8-10ft. wide area that extends along the entire length of a retenside of a zoning lot. A neighbor appealed the decision to BSA.
The neighbor claimed that the Zoning Resolution expressly prohibited front yard parking for attached homes in an R4-1 district, and that Buildings incorrectly granted the permit since the parking space would be within an open area between the street line and the street wall of the attached home. The neighbor further claimed that parking was not permitted within the purported side lot ribbon, including the section that overlapped the front yard, because side lot ribbons could not exist on a zoning lot where an attached home extended the entire width of the zoning lot. Moreover, the neighbor argued that the framers of the Zoning Resolution intended to prohibit parking in front yards of attached homes in R4-1 districts since front yard parking for attached homes is prohibited in R4B and R5B districts, districts that typically produce attached rowhouses similar to those found in R4-1 districts.
In a three-two decision, BSA denied the neighbor’s appeal. It ruled that parking in an R4-1 district could be located anywhere within a side lot ribbon of a zoning lot, including the portion that crosses over the front yard, irrespective of the type of house built upon the zoning lot. BSA also ruled that a side lot ribbon could exist on a zoning lot that did not have a side yard, as is the case with a rowhouse attached on both sides. As for the neighbor’s original intent argument, BSA declined to look past the “four corners” of the Zoning Resolution, noting that BSA must not look beyond the plain meaning of the Resolution’s text to ascertain the framer’s intent. BSA concluded that the text was unambiguous on the issue: front yard parking for attached homes was expressly prohibited in R4B and R5B districts whereas parking in R4-1 districts was not.
BSA: 846 70th Street (136-08-A) (Oct. 28, 2008). CITYADMIN