Variances Approved For Residential Development on East Williamsburg’s Grattan Street

Street view of 95 Grattan Street in Brooklyn. Image credit: Google.

Street view of 95 Grattan Street in Brooklyn. Image credit: Google.

Applicant seeks to build multiple dwellings on M1-1-zoned 25-foot lots.  On June 24, 2014, the Board of Standards and Appeals voted 4-0 to grant a use variance to 95 Grattan Street, LLC and to 97 Grattan Street, LLC allowing them to construct two separate four-story, seven-unit residential buildings.  One building will be located at 95 Grattan Street, the other at 97 Grattan Street.  Each 2,500-square foot lot is located on the north side of Grattan Street, between Knickerbocker Avenue to the west and Porter Avenue to the east, with 25 feet of frontage on Grattan Street.  Both lots are located in a M1-1 zoned district, which limits use to light manufacturing, industrial, retail, and offices.  The LLCs needed a variance to construct residential buildings in the district.

On March 29, 2013, the Department of Buildings’ Brooklyn Borough Commissioner denied the LLCs application for permission to build the residential buildings in the manufacturing district.  The LLCs applied to the BSA for a variance on April 29, 2013.  BSA public hearings were held on December 17, 2013, February 4, April 8, May 20, and June 20, 2014.  The LLCs argued that a development in conformity with the M1-1 regulations was infeasible because the floor plates of each lot were too small for a manufacturing or commercial space.  The LLCs further argued that use as retail space was infeasible due to restricted foot and vehicle traffic from the surrounding residential area.  BSA commissioners requested that the LLCs explore the feasibility of conforming to the M1-1 regulations if the lots were merged into one.  The LLCs found that a manufacturing building on the merged lot would yield a negative rate of return.

On June 24, 2014, the BSA granted the variances on the condition that the LLCs adhere to specified bulk parameters in constructing the buildings.  The LLCs must also submit a Remedial Closure Report concerning any hazardous material contaminants to the Department of Environmental Protection and obtain the Department’s approval of the Report prior to receiving a Certificate of Occupancy.

BSA:  95 Grattan Street (124-13-BZ) (June 24, 2014) (Rothkrug, Rothkrug, & Specter LLP, for 95 Grattan Street, applicant).

BSA:  97 Grattan Street (125-13-BZ) (June 24, 2014) (Rothkrug, Rothkrug, & Specter LLP, for 97 Grattan Street, applicant).

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

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