Hospital’s programmatic needs supported granting of variance. Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine of New York University, a non-profit organization, applied to BSA for a variance to construct an 11-story research facility in Manhattan. The development site included three tax lots comprising a single zoning lot. Mt. Sinai’s Nurses’ Residence occupied one tax lot while the other two tax lots housed three hospital buildings that Mt. Sinai intended to demolish in order to construct the research building and adjacent residential building. As proposed, the research building would not comply with zoning regulations for community facility lot coverage, height and setback, sky exposure plane, and tower coverage.
Mt. Sinai claimed that it required a new research facility in order to remain competitive among similar institutions, and that floor plates of 28,000sq.ft., not including mechanical space, were required in order to construct an efficient research facility. It further claimed that the retention of the Nurses’ Residence was also necessary to meet its programmatic needs, and, as such, the Residence qualified as a unique physical condition inherent to the zoning lot which created a practical difficulty in complying with zoning requirements. Mt. Sinai provided four alternative, as-of-right site plans, but argued that none allowed for the retention of the Residence and large enough floor plates.
Manhattan Community Boards 8 and 11 opposed the variance, in part, because they believed that Mt. Sinai was not entitled to deference as to its programmatic needs since the proposed use was neither a hospital nor a school, and because the retention of the Nurses’ Residence did notqualify as a unique condition inherent to the zoning lot.
BSA granted the variance, ruling that Mt. Sinai was entitled to deference since the research performed at the new facility would further Mt. Sinai’s clinical care and medical education. Citing to a previous decision, BSA further ruled that when a major health care facility required retention of an existing building to meet its programmatic needs, the need to retain could qualify as a unique physical condition inherent to the zoning lot which created practical difficulty in complying with zoning requirements.
BSA: 3 East 101st Street (257-07-BZ) (Oct. 28, 2008) CITYADMIN