Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Never-ending battle wages on over additional floors at 515 E. Fifth St.

[EVG file photo]

A familiar address makes an appearance at tonight's CB3 Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee meeting:

• BSA 266-13-BZ, 515 E 5th St: request variance of ZR23-145 to legalize enlargement of a 6-story family dwelling

To quickly rehash a few previous posts: Back in 2008, the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) decreed that developer Ben Shaoul's additions to 515 E. Fifth St. were illegal and should be removed. Work on the additional 6th floor and penthouse commenced in 2006 after the Buildings Department approved the enlargements ... however, the additions were later found to skirt certain fire and safety regulations, per published reports. (Read more about the ruling at the Post and Curbed.)

In recent years there have been protests ... and hearings...

In early September, attorneys for a handful of 515's longer-tenured residents argued that not only was there no legal basis for granting Shaoul vesting under the old zoning laws, there was also no guarantee that he would use this opportunity to correct the violations of the Multiple Dwelling Laws that exist in the building. The BSA upheld this argument.

However, Shaoul's attorneys are appealing the BSA's decision. You can find volumes of legalese about all this right here. (PDF!)

To make a long legal document short, Shaoul's attorneys are requesting that the city grant a zoning variance to "permit the constructed enlargement, minus the penthouse, to remain, which is in character with the surrounding neighborhood." (According to the documents, the estimated cost of removing the sixth floor and penthouse is $452,000.)

In 2010, the BSA told Shaoul that he needed to remove the seventh-floor penthouse at a nearby property at 516-516 E. Sixth St. (The BSA said that the sixth-floor addition could stay.) Workers finally started removing the penthouse, which was never occupied, last month.

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] 5 years later, another BSA hearing on illegal rooftop addition at 515 E. Fifth St.

Protest at 515 E. Fifth St. this morning, site of Ben Shaoul's illegal addition

The disappearing illegal penthouse of 514-516 E. 6th St.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of rooftop additions:
What about the massive construction project going on in the courtyard of 504/508 E 12th Street (but invisible from the street)? Tons of mixed concrete being hoisted to the roof. No permits.

J.S. said...

I don't entirely understand the purpose of adding one or two floors to a small building. Obviously there's going to be some additional rent revenue, but the cost of construction, legal and technical fees, and so forth, must make the added revenue of limited value. Is there some other reason for doing this?