Permit awarded to art school

Performing arts school to convert vacant three-story building. Montgomery Academy, a performing arts school located at 414 Utica Avenue, Brooklyn, sought a special permit to convert a vacant three-story commercial building on nearby Lefferts Avenue into additional school space. Montgomery stated that the building was necessary to accommodate increased enrollment.

Prior to submitting its application, Montgomery sought alternate sites, but failed to find any buildings that allowed a school as-of-right suitable with respect to size, cost, or quality. Montgomery argued that the Lefferts Avenue building, which was only 50 feet from a zoning district that allowed school use, was in good condition, ready to use, and sufficient for its needs. Montgomery also emphasized its contribution to the community: teaching music and dance to students primarily from the Crown Heights neighborhood, many of whom were immigrants and benefited from a performing arts school environment.

DOT issued a letter expressing concern that the school’s location near major intersections increased the risk of accidents involving school children. In response, Montgomery submitted a traffic study and recommended using a crossing guard at the corner of Lefferts and Utica Avenues immediately before and after school hours. DOT requested additional studies of common walking routes and additional measures to mitigate accidents. Montgomery submitted a map of walking routes and agreed to implement any additional safety measures recommended by DOT.

BSA agreed that no suitable asof- right buildings existed for Montgomery’s use and granted the application, finding that the advantages to the community outweighed any disadvantages. BSA conditioned the permit on the presence of crossing guards at all intersections recommended by DOT and Montgomery’s environmental consultant, and Montgomery’s compliance with all of DOT’s suggested safety measures.

BSA: 842 Lefferts Avenue (321-04-BZ) (August 16, 2005) (Moshe M. Friedman, for Montgomery). CITYADMIN

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