Residential use approved in Red Hook industrial zone

BSA sides with owner despite strong opposition. On August 22, 2006, BSA granted a variance to Atlas Packaging Solutions Holding Corporation, the owner of a vacant, 2,500- square-foot lot at 146 Conover Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to allow construction of a six-unit, four-story, 5,350-square-foot residential building in a manufacturing zone (M2-1). Prior to 1980, the lot contained a residential building.

In support of the variance, Atlas argued that the site’s small size and the fact that the two adjacent lots contained residential uses made modern industrial uses unmarketable. Atlas submitted a study showing that as-of-right development would be infeasible and a survey showing no other vacant, small manufacturing sites in Red Hook with adjacent residential uses. It also offered proof of its efforts to market the site for manufacturing uses. Atlas had initially proposed a taller eight-unit building, but, upon BSA’s request, reduced the height and number of units to match adjacent buildings. BSA also directed Atlas to eliminate the cellar to avoid added construction costs.

Several organizations which advocate for industrial uses argued that the city needed viable industrial sites and emphasized that the lot sat within both City and State designated industrial zones. Community Board 6 and the Mayor’s Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses also argued that a variance for residential use would compound the area’s gradual loss of industrial space and negatively affect the viability of nearby industrially- used sites. IMB further argued that the site could be developed for industrial use if BSA granted a variance for additional floor space rather than a variance for use.

The South Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, also in opposition, stated that Atlas’s efforts to market the lot had been half-hearted and that Atlas did not respond to inquiries related to industrial use. Opponents asserted that Atlas’s hardship was self inflicted since Atlas let the original residential use lapse, and the site was not unique in the Red Hook area.

After a site visit, BSA agreed with Atlas, finding the area to be mixed-use, and that there was no evidence that businesses or jobs would be displaced or that a conforming manufacturing building would be impractical due to the site’s size and adjacent residential uses. BSA noted that it understood the industrial protection zone’s purposes but stressed that a variance review was site-specific, the site was unique, and its historic use was residential. Since opponents failed to submit studies showing an industrial use to be feasible even with the additional floor area, BSA found this argument speculative.

BSA: 146 Conover Street (351-05-BZ) (August 22, 2006) (Emily Simons, for Atlas). CITYADMIN

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