Dedicated to the preservation of New York City's historic landmarked West 70th Street and
protection from the incursion of an inappropriate condominum tower at the Shearith Israel Synagogue site.

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Board of Standards and Appeals and Findings Required to Grant a Variance

What is the Board of Standards of Appeals (BSA)? This is from their web site:

The Board is also given the power to grant special permits and to make other determinations under the Administrative Code and Zoning Resolution and to hear applications from the Buildings Department and Fire Department to modify or revoke certificates of occupancy. This broad range of powers brings before the Board a large number of issues that affect the development of the City and the effectiveness of its building safety regulations. Among the functions of the Board which is most visible is its zoning power, particularly its power to grant variances and special permits, which cases are frequently of vital interest to Community Boards, civic organizations and neighborhood residents

The chair of the BSA is Meenakshi Srinivasan and the Vice-Chair is Satish Babbar????old???. Jeff Mulligan is the Executive Director. James Chin and Christopher Collins are Commissioners. The BSA Rules & Procedures can be downloaded here.

Next, the BSA applies what is known as the Zoning Resolution; notwithstanding the misleading name, the Resolution is a comprehensive regulatory enactment. The particular provisions applicable for this proceeding is Article 72-20 which can be found in its entirety at this link. The BSA is required to make these findings ... READ MORE THIS IS IMPORTANT.


For the Congregation, there is another problem pointed out by LPC Commissioner Gratz:

But there is one remaining knotty problem to this proposal. The so-called penthouse – even at one story -- is actually an extra floor with modest setbacks. According to the Buildings Department, a penthouse does not count in the height of a building if it occupies less than a third of the floor area of the roof. This penthouse is 2,870 feet or 64% of the roof area of 4,480 square feet. Thus the penthouse would need to be 1,493 feet to legally qualify as a penthouse.


To understand the BSA approach, we suggest you go to this site and then search for the word "variance" and browse through some of the decisions. For example, read this decision for 342 Madison Avenue concerning issues present in the Shearith Israel waiver.