Special Permit Granted To Enlarge Building in Historic District

Eric Palatnik testifies before the Board of Standards and Appeals. Image credit: BSA

Eric Palatnik testifies before the Board of Standards and Appeals. Image credit: BSA

BSA found the proposed expansion would not alter the neighborhood character or interfere with any pending public improvements.  On December 9, 2014 the Board of Standards and Appeals voted to grant the applicant, Galt Group Holdings, a special permit to extend the rear portion of an existing building as part of the building’s conversion into a single-family home.  The building is located at 127 East 71st Street in Manhattan’s Upper East Side Historic District, between Park Avenue to the west and Lexington Avenue to the east.

The existing building is a four-story mixed residential and community-use facility with approximately 6,500 square feet.  The proposed enlargement would expand the building’s floor area to 7,516 square feet.  On November 13, 2013 the Department of Buildings denied Galt’s application because the proposed enlargement would increase lot coverage to 77 percent, exceeding the maximum of 70 percent.  On December 20, 2013 Galt applied to the Board for a special permit to allow the enlargement.

Public hearings were held by the Board on September 23 and November 18, 2014.  At the September hearing, Eric Palatnik testified as counsel for Galt.  Mr. Palatnik testified the building’s surface facing the rear yard was an irregular L-shape, and the expansion would remove the protrusion, increasing the overall rear yard area.  Mr. Palatnik testified Manhattan Community Board 8 had approved of the application, and that the Landmarks Preservation Commission was appreciative of plans to replace the existing brick façade with limestone, bringing the building more in line with the character of the neighborhood.  The Commission issued a certificate of appropriateness for the expansion on November 26, 2014.

Opposition testimony was heard from Martin Anthony White, a local resident, who complained that the proposed expansion plans included a second-floor terrace that would look down into the private garden and second-floor bedrooms of his building.  Mr. White also expressed concern that the extensive work would negatively affect his property value at a time his building was on the market.

On December 9, 2014 the Board voted 4-0 to grant the permit.

BSA: 127 East 71st Street, Manhattan (323-13-BZ) (Dec. 9, 2014) (Eric Palatnik, P.C., for Galt Group Holdings, owner).

By:  Michael Twomey (Michael is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2014).

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