Trevor Day’s new school building approved

Twelve-story, 101,243 sq.ft. East 95th Street school required BSA approval. Trevor Day School, a private school with four Manhattan locations, applied to BSA for a special permit and variance to construct a 12-story combined middle and high school at 312 East 95th Street. The building design called for a four-story, 84-foot tall base with 10,300 sq.ft. floor plates. It would rise an additional eight stories, each with 6,200 sq.ft. floor plates, to a total height of 204 feet. Since the site’s C8-4 zoning prohibited the school use as-of-right, Trevor’s plan required a special permit. The 101,243 sq.ft. building design required a variance to exceed both the maximum floor area by 33,299 sq.ft., and the maximum tower lot coverage, and to provide an eight-inch rear yard as opposed to the 20-foot requirement.

At BSA, Trevor’s representative stated that it was unable to provide adequate classroom space in its current middle school and high school, citing a study that found Trevor’s average classroom area per student at 30 percent less than other independent middle and high schools in the City.

Trevor claimed that the proposed site allowed it to combine the middle and high schools, and relocate them to a larger building that would meet Trevor’s enrollment needs. The school also claimed that over the course of four years it looked at nine other sites that permitted schools asof- right, but none provided the 100,000 sq.ft. of floor area needed.

Trevor maintained that it could not meet its space requirements with an as-of-right design because groundwater, soil, and bedrock conditions would require the school to spend between $9 and $17.4 million in extra costs to build below ground. As a result, the school would need to construct almost all of its floors above ground, necessitating the requested variances.

An adjacent property owner opposed the application, arguing that the school building would block its light and air, and that the school created the hardship when it purchased the property.

BSA approved the plan, noting that state law required it to give deference to the programmatic needs of an educational institution. BSA pointed out that Trevor conducted an incremental shadow impact study finding that the proposed building would cast less shadow on the adjacent property than an as-of-right building. BSA added that the height of the proposed building was permitted as-of-right in the area, noting that there were a number of buildings within the area taller than the proposed school.

BSA: 312-318 East 95th Street, Manhattan (304-08-BZ) (May 19, 2009) (Judy Gallent, Bryan Cave, for Trevor Day). CITYADMIN

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