On August 6th, the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) heard Landmark West’s Appeal (view it HERE) regarding the legality of 36 West 66th Street (aka 50 West 66th Street) and how it does (but mainly, how it  does not) comply with Zoning.  The hearing continues on September 10th.
In the first hearing, we learned many disappointing facts:
1) The Chair of the BSA opened by announcing (and later, often repeating) that if the Zoning language is ambiguous – and “even in the case of a tie” – the BSA will always side with the Developer.
Really?: In instance after instance, the City has chosen to leave Zoning language intentionally ambiguous. “Floor height” is not defined.  “Vesting” is not defined.  “Foundation” is not defined. The City allows it to remain loose and open to interpretation and then says “any ambiguity goes to the Developer”. Why should the Developer always win? Why doesn’t anyone ask City Planning directly about the interpretation of Zoning? Or, better yet, clarify it.
2) The BSA sees its role merely as one to consider the Department of Building’s interpretation of the Zoning Resolution, not the well documented intent of the Zoning Resolution itself.
Really?: 50 W. 66th Street is in the Special Lincoln Square District(SLSD). The clear goal and intent of the SLSD was to add an additional layer of Zoning protections for the neighborhood. The UNAMBIGUOUS language of the SLSD, written on Page 1 within the Executive Summary, reads: “These regulations combined would result in building heights in the range of the mid-20 to 30 stories tall, which would complement the district’s existing neighborhood character.”
3) The Developer and the DOB and the BSA are twisting the above to read that a 775-foot tower that includes hundreds of empty feet of void space is simply a 39-story building and that it complies with City Planning’s intent to only allow towers in the “mid-20 to 30 stories” range.
Really?: This twisted interpretation will set a precedent that could affect every building in our community. Why, then, have Zoning? Why create a Special Zoning District?  Under this interpretation, a football field set on end with an air conditioning unit in the middle would comply.
Also Note: 39-stories is not “mid-20 to 30 stories” because, math.
4) The Developer and the DOB and the BSA argue that unless every sentence written in the Special Lincoln Square District Chapter of the Zoning Resolution begins with the words “within the Special Lincoln Square District” — then they do not apply to the SLSD.
Really?: The chapter is titled and was entirely written specifically about the Special Lincoln Square District.  It would be ridiculous to start every sentence with “within the Special Lincoln Square District”. Yes, this is as inane as it sounds. They are fabricating “ambiguity”.
5) In cases of ambiguity, the BSA always sides with the developer.
Heard enough? Want to learn more and push back?
we discuss the latest with the community at the
West 64-67th Street Block Association
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 125 Columbus Ave
Mark your calendars for Tuesday September 10th 
when the Appeal resumes at the BSA.
Hearing begins at 10am
And follow the fight against the SUPERTALLS at:



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