It truly is the busiest time of the year!
To catch you up on three fronts for West 66th Street:
1) The Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA)
As promised, LANDMARK WEST! was at the BSA today FILING OUR CHALLENGE against 36 West 66th Street (the tower replacing the Jewish Guild for the Blind and Congregation Habonim’s synagogue). This is the next step of administrative relief after the Department of Buildings (DOB) Challenge, which LW! previously filed with neighbors at 10 West 66th Street. For the BSA, we are in on time and have a strong set of new arguments to support our position. An added bonus of arguing our position at the BSA is that they make their decisions based on interpretation of the Zoning Resolution (versus the DOB, which decides strictly on the letter of the wording). Since the developer is relying on specific interpretations, we can finally go toe-to-toe on these points.
The schedule of hearings for when we will argue this at the BSA will not be available until January, but our fight continues, so stay tuned for updates!
2) The Department of Buildings (DOB)
In the meantime, the Department of Buildings has again declined to amend the developer’s existing permit for a 25-story building into the 39-story, 775 foot tall residential tower they seek. This means the developer still does not have the permits they need to build anything larger than 25 stories. We’ve been informed that the DOB’s objections have been directed to Fire Safety and Operations for review.
3) Department of City Planning (DCP)
And the clock is ticking! Edith Hsu-Chen, the NYC Department of City Planning Director for the Borough of Manhattan has promised at two 2018 Town Halls to provide a report to address the excessive mechanical void abuses by year’s end. With 12 days to go, remind our agencies that we can tell time. Tell them these voids are unacceptable!
1-2-3! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
DCP action regarding the voids issue is expected first (this year!) and will have city-wide implications. The developers on W. 66th Street will work through their DOB objections, and BSA Appeals hearings will be set — teeing up a busy 2019!
We will likely always be out-resourced in funding for lawyers and consultant teams, but we do have an abundance of facts on our side…and the neighborhood! The fight is long, and in many ways just beginning. DONATE NOW to continue our advocacy to curb not only this inappropriate development but other out-of-scale buildings citywide, and help us protect the Best of the West!