EAST VILLAGE?Usually, the chances of the Board of Standards & Appeals overturning a Buildings Department decision is about the same as us getting an invite to the 200 Chambers holiday party. Just ask the Trump Soho haters about the BSA's stinginess. But according to a release just into the inbox, the unthinkable has happened in the East Village, where a pair of recent one-story rooftop extensions at 514-516 East 6th Street and 515 East 5th Street have been ordered to be taken down. Wow! Unfortunately, the retail listing we turned up for 514-516 East 6th Street (right) doesn't have a picture of these illicit tumors, but here's an old rental listing for one of those now-endangered apartments. Full release after the jump! [CurbedWire Inbox]
CENTRAL VILLAGE/WEST VILLAGE?A Curbed tipster thinks he has spotted some chicanery in a Craigslist rental listing (no!). He writes, "Boy I was really surprised when my client sent me a link to this advertisement on Craigslist. A Massive renovated one bedroom on 5th Avenue and 11th Street, with elevator and terrace for $2,395. Boy, that almost sounds too good to be true. Unseen before? Well it has been seen, at 162 Christopher where the rents go between 5K-6K." [CurbedWire Inbox]
In a rare reversal of a Department of Buildings decision, today the City’s Board of Standards and Appeals ruled that the recent expansions of 514-516 East 6th St. and 515 East 5th St. – two five-story, multi-unit apartment buildings in Manhattan – violated the state’s Multiple Dwelling Law and must be removed. The BSA ruling follows sharp criticism last month from tenants, the Urban Justice Center (UJC), Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Council Member Rosie Mendez, who argued that the extra floor added to these buildings violated state law and would put residents in danger. With today’s decision, developers at the property will have to remove the extra story illegally added. “Today the BSA has acted in New Yorkers’ best interests,” said Harvey Epstein, Director of UJC’s Community Development Project. “Too often, the Department of Buildings ignores the law and puts developers before residents. Today’s reversal sends a strong signal to DOB and developers that basic protections and laws cannot just be ignored. This is a major victory,” he stated.
Over the past six months DOB allowed the landlord of the East Village properties to put an additional floor on the tenement buildings without installing an elevator or adequate fire escapes. Advocates argued before the BSA in October that this approval was in direct violation of the Multiple Dwelling Law, which calls for certain evacuation and fire safety standards in any expansion of older tenement buildings.
“The Multiple Dwelling Law was created to protect New York City tenants from dangerous construction and overdevelopment that could put tenants at risk. As the BSA agreed today, this expansion was in direct violation of the law and could have opened the door to countless irresponsible construction throughout the neighborhood,” Epstein stated.
“The Board of Standards and Appeals has made the right choice today to reverse the dangerous mistake of the Department of Buildings. We applaud the removal of this illegal construction,” stated Monte Shapiro, spokesperson for the Tenants Association of 515 East 5th Street.
“It is scandalous that the City would allow a landlord to put its residents at such risk, and in blatant disregard of a law specifically designed to prevent exactly this type of wrongheaded development. Today’s decision sends a message that we won’t tolerate construction that puts people’s lives at risk,” Shapiro stated.
The Tenants Association of 515 East 5th Street previously fought and won a similar case against the Department of Buildings, when tenants accused DOB of overstepping its administrative authority by approving construction permits that the tenants deemed dangerous.