Variances granted for top two floors, denied for bottom two

Building owner sought to legalize 23 residential units. The owner of a four-story 34,500 sq.ft. building in an M1-1 zoned district located at 47 Thames Street in East Williamsburg, sought to legalize 23 existing residential units on its first through fourth floors.

In support of the variance, the applicant argued that the building is one of the few four-story manufacturing buildings in the area, and its lack of access ramps, loading docks and a commercial elevator rendered the entire building unfit for manufacturing uses. BSA asked for further analyses including cost studies of a full retrofit of the building to address the elevator, access ramp and loading dock problems and an analysis of the construction of a below-grade loading dock.

Following its review, BSA denied the variance in part, legalizing only the 14 units on the top two floors. BSA found that the building was one of only four, multi-story manufacturing buildings in the area, but noted that this multi-story status only created a hardship, or a difficulty in obtaining conforming uses, in relation to the building’s third and fourth floors.

The nine existing illegal residential units on the lower floors will have to be replaced with uses permitted within the site’s M1-1 zoning. The building is located outside the proposed Williamsburg-Greenpoint rezoning, which is currently undergoing public review under ULURP.

BSA: 47 Thames Street (258-03-BZ) (December 14, 2004) (Howard Goldman Esq., for Realty LLC). CITYADMIN

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