Legalization of single-family oversized home denied

Owner claimed that structure was enlargement and not new construction. Michael Reznikov received permits from Buildings in 2002 to make interior improvements and apply a masonry veneer to the exterior of his two-story home at 229 Coleridge Street in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn. A 2004 Buildings’ inspection revealed that Reznikov had instead increased the height of his home and significantly extended it into the rear yard thereby violating limits on bulk. Buildings issued a stop-work order.

Reznikov applied to BSA for a special permit to legalize the over-sized addition and the building’s height. BSA notified Reznikov that it could grant permits in cases where the home had been enlarged, but not where the home had been completely demolished. Since the work was complete, Reznikov carried the burden of showing that the completed work was an enlargement
and not a new structure.

Reznikov submitted the original alteration permit, showing that it did not permit demolition, and emphasized that Buildings did not issue a demolition violation over the two-year construction period. Reznikov provided BSA with photos showing the new home and the home in the 1940s. He also pointed to a 25-foot height notation on a 1976 alteration permit, which he claimed to have personally prepared, arguing that the 25-foot notation referred to the building’s height along the street rather than the total height. His home’s 25-foot height, he argued, pre-existed height limits.

After Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan and Vice-Chair Satish Babbar visited the site, BSA denied the application, noting that the new home looked “noticeably different” from the 1940s photograph. The absence of a Buildings’ demolition violation and the existence of an alteration permit are not sufficient proof of a building’s enlargement. Vice-Chair Babbar, a former Buildings Commissioner, explained that height notations on Buildings’ permits refer to the total height and not the height along the street, so Reznikov’s home violated current height limits.

BSA: 229 Coleridge Street (320-04-BZ) (May 16, 2006) (Harold Weinberg, for Reznikov). CITYADMIN

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