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Park Ave. Synagogue's Expansion Plan Rankles Neighbors

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An Upper East Side synagogue's ambitious renovation and expansion plans have hit a snag, as neighbors and the local community board have rejected key parts of the proposal.

According to DNAinfo, the Park Avenue Synagogue is set to move into the current home of the Trevor Day School at 11 East 89th Street by the end of the summer, where the synagogue will expand its educational programming. It will also embark on a huge overhaul of the building, restoring its facade and windows and adding a green space, a new elevator bulkhead, an emergency generator, and a tall fence on the roof. These proposed changes have neighbors worried that their views will be obstructed and that the "historic character" of the block will be destroyed.

Last week, Community Board 8's landmarks committee approved the exterior restoration plans, but rejected the rooftop additions on the grounds that the fence and bulkhead can be seen from the street.

"The generator will block my view, and the fencing proposed to be put around could be seen down the street," said one NIMBY in support of the decision.

A representative of Park Avenue Synagogue said that the rooftop space was of "critical importance" for the children, since there is simply not enough space at the synagogue's main location at 50 East 87th Street.

Residents are also taking issue with the synagogue's perceived lack of community outreach, with neighbor Larry Davis calling the entire process "calculated and devious," compared to the rooftop proposal put forward by neighboring St. David's School.

[Rendering of the proposed addition, via MBB]
· Park Ave. Synagogue's Rooftop Greenspace Proposal Denied by Community Board
[DNAinfo]
· Park Avenue Synagogue Expansion [MBB]