Thursday, May 15, 2008

stop the presses: new stop work order at Atlantic & Court

It looks like our meeting with the Department of Buildings on Tuesday has had some effect. DOB and City Planning have put their heads together, and a stop work order has been issued for the illegal duplexes at Atlantic and Court.

As I understand it, the subject of the order is whether the obviously habitable structures on the roof, as shown on the drawings, satisfy the defintion and the square footage requirements for 'bulkheads'. The only possible answer in a society governed by law is, Aw hell no!

But don't take my word for it. Below are the definitions of 'bulkhead' and 'habitable room' from the Building Code (i.e. the code currently in effect, as opposed to the new code which will go into effect later this year).

The Building Code says:
§[C26-201.0] 27-232 Definitions.-Words that are capitalized are defined in this section.

BULKHEAD.-An enclosed structure on or above the roof of any part of a building, enclosing a shaft, stairway, tank, or service equipment, or other space not designed or used for human occupancy. (See PENTHOUSE and ROOF STRUCTURE.)

**HABITABLE ROOM.-A residential room or space, having the minimum dimensions required by section 27-751 of article six of subchapter twelve of this chapter in which the ordinary functions of domestic life are carried on, and which includes bedrooms, living rooms, studies, recreation rooms, kitchens, dining rooms and other similar spaces, but does not include closets, halls, stairs, laundry rooms, or bathrooms.

PENTHOUSE.-An enclosed structure on or above the
roof of any part of a building, which is designed or used
for human occupancy

§[C26-1205.2] 27-746 Habitable rooms.- All habitable
rooms shall be provided with natural ventilation
complying with the provisions of this subchapter except
as provided in section 27-750 of this article.

**§[C26-1205.7] 27-751 Minimum dimensions of
habitable rooms.- Habitable rooms shall have a minimum
clear width of eight feet in any part; a minimum clear
area of eighty square feet and a minimum clear ceiling
height of eight feet for the minimum area [...]

The six penthouses, which is what they are, measure approximately 245 square feet each, i.e. they are bigger than the living rooms immediately beneath them. Each one has several windows and a door opening out onto that duplex apartment's private rooftop terrace.

Those sure sound like habitable rooms to me. And if they are, then they will have to be demolished.


Anonymous said...

Great work CHA! Our thanks to you and to the other organizational and individual supporters in this three-year effort to enforce the law against a greedy developer!

Anonymous said...

These rooftop spaceses are typically built as "storage space" with the center roof peak set at no more than 8 feet and the remainder under a slope. The zonig allows for such rooms. You need to look at how zoning defines "attic spaces," including the case law that exists on these matters under the published TPPN's.
Zoning and Building Codes just aren't as simple as the bas text posted here. (Though it should be.)

Anonymous said...

dude--if you need selective case law and the introduction of the word/conecpt "attic" then i'm all for pulling these down just on "principle"--read: the law.

lawyers/developers have a had a great run, but it's just gone too far;law needs to preside here.

Anonymous said...

If you can walk in them and have furniture in them and show it on a house tour then they're not bulkheads, and if you're not stooped over and there's no pink panther insulate, and no one wants to go there and you use it more than a place to store holiday decorations then they're not attics.

these clearly are not legal, and thus got to go...please keep on these guys. (too cute by more than half)