Rear yard obstruction NOV dismissed

Location of air conditioning units was legal because units were located outside the required rear yard. Buildings issued a notice of violation to the owner of 1027 East 2nd Street in Brooklyn for maintaining an obstruction in a required rear yard. An officer issued the NOV after observing four air conditioning units in the rear yard within four inches of the side-lot line. Properties in residential districts are only permitted to install AC units in a required backyard if they are located at least eight feet from any lot line.

At a hearing, the owner stated that the property was located in the Ocean Parkway Special District, which requires a minimum backyard depth of twenty feet from the rear-lot line instead of the thirty-foot backyard required by the area’s underlying R3-1 zoning regulations. The owner argued that while his property had a thirty-foot rear yard, the AC units were located in a ten-foot portion of the yard closest to his home and not in the twenty-foot portion of the required yard under the special district’s regulations. An ALJ upheld the NOV, finding the special district’s rules did not redefine the requirements of other zoning regulations and were not meant to affect the rear yard regulations.

The owner appealed to the Environmental Control Board, arguing that the required rear yard in the special district was only twenty feet and that by keeping the AC units in an area outside the required yard he was not in violation of the zoning resolution. The Board agreed with the owner and dismissed the NOV. The Board noted that the zoning resolution’s definition of “yard” referenced the applicable district yard regulations, in this case, the Ocean Parkway Special District’s twenty-foot rear yard requirement. The Board ruled that the portion exceeding twenty feet was not subject to the zoning provision that described permitted obstructions in required rear yards.

NYC v. Stanley Kupfer, ECB Appeal No. 0900160 (March 25, 2010). CITYADMIN

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