Three-story residential building OK’ed

BSA reduced building size, but included parking for each unit. The owner of 114 Walworth Street in an M1-1 district of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, sought a variance to construct a six-story, 47-unit residential building with 24 parking spaces on a vacant 17,500-square-foot lot with 175 feet of frontage on Walworth Street. The site, formerly occupied by residential buildings, has remained vacant since the buildings were demolished.

The applicant argued that Walworth Street’s narrow 50-foot width with only 24 feet of paved roadway, coupled with the unrestricted on-street residential parking on both sides, made it impossible for trailers to back onto the site. The site’s slope, two adjacent residential buildings and potentially contaminated soil conditions made conforming development infeasible. The only way to create functional manufacturing or commercial use on the site, the owner argued, would be to create one flat floor plate requiring a combination of excavation and decking at a considerable cost.

Council Member Letitia James supported the application, but Community Board 3 opposed claiming a six-story building was badly out-of-character with the surrounding two-story homes. At BSA’s request, the applicant submitted two alternate conforming use designs: a one-story single-tenant warehouse, and two onestory warehouses with separate tenants. Neither, the applicant argued, effectively addressed the problems created by the lot’s sloped condition. The applicant further argued that 114 Walworth Street was unlike other vacant lots in the area because no other lot was on as narrow a street with unrestricted residential parking.

BSA determined that hardship existed, finding the narrow paved roadway and unrestricted parking on Walworth Street made on-site loading for manufacturing and warehouse operations extraordinarily difficult. BSA dismissed the applicant’s argument about prospective environmental contamination clean-up costs and did not find that adjacent residential uses created hardship.

Expressing concerns about the project size and height, BSA granted a variance for a reduced 34,989- square-foot, three-story, 27-unit residential building not to exceed a height of 35 feet. One parking space for each unit was required to preserve available on-street parking.

BSA: 114 Walworth Street (9-04-BZ) (July 12, 2005) (Cozen O’Connor, for 114 Walworth). CITYADMIN

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