Tuesday, May 13, 2008

what about those illegal duplexes at Atlantic & Court?

Laurie Maurer of the CHA, Nadezhda Williams of the Historic Districts Council, and I had a meeting earlier this afternoon with Thomas Fariello, the Deputy Brooklyn Borough Commissioner for the Department of Buildings, regarding the six illegal duplexes currently being built at 182-194 Atlantic Avenue.

The six duplexes are illegal because they violate the fifty-foot height limit of the Cobble Hill Historic District's LH-1 zoning. Two Trees is calling the penthouse portions of the duplexes 'bulkheads', but these are no bulkheads. They are sixth-floor rooms of 245 square feet, and they are even bigger than the fifth-floor living rooms that they are connected to.

What's most galling about this case is that the City Council denied Two Trees' request for the height variance, yet City agencies have allowed the illegal duplexes anyway.

Here is the argument that we made to Deputy Commissioner Fariello:
Re: 182-194 Atlantic Avenue (Project 56114-A, Block 286, Lot 17)


That the six enclosed spaces on the roof of 182-194 Atlantic Avenue, other than the one enclosed space legitimately devoted to the elevator shaft and mechanicals room, are not bulkheads and therefore not permitted obstructions under Zoning Resolution 23-62;

That the aforesaid six enclosed spaces are not exits of any sort;

That the aforesaid six enclosed spaces are habitable rooms, as defined by the Building Code, by virtue of their dimensions, their windows and doors, their connections to fifth-floor living rooms via staircases, and the exclusive use of them enjoyed by the owners of the fifth-floor apartments to which they are attached;

That, because of the preceding claims, the aforesaid six enclosed spaces violate the fifty-foot height limit of the site’s LH-1 zoning and Historic District designation;

That, because of the preceding claims, the aforesaid six enclosed spaces violate the City Council’s Resolution 1169, passed on November 15, 2007, which denied the developer’s request for a variance from the fifty-foot height limit of the site’s LH-1 zoning;

That, because of the preceding claims, the aforesaid six enclosed spaces must be demolished immediately.
We were pleased to find that Fariello disputed none of our claims. In fact, he was as reasonable as one could wish a City official to be. But he then said that we had to convince City Planning that the permit that they issued—before the City Council's November 15, 2007 vote—to build these large rooftop spaces violates the City Council's Resolution 1169, which denied the variance to build them. That seems to be a fairly elementary matter of fact. Even so, I have no doubt that the runaround is not over yet.

LPC had passed the ball to DOB. DOB has now passed the ball to City Planning. The City will run out of places to pass the ball before we run out of zeal in the defense of our neighbourhood. Next stop: City Planning.


Anonymous said...

Story was linked from brownstoner.com

I could care less about cobble hill or any new developments in that area but I just have to say based on this blog that jeff strabone seems like giant douchebag.

I'm just saying is all...

Anonymous said...

nice reasoned argument 6:02 and way to get personal. You quite obviously do care about CH or the money you make or dont make in CH.

Sounds like you spend way too much time by yourself, and still can't satisfy yourself. Stay away from this space

Anonymous said...

I like it.....no one is 50 ft better than the rest of us.

Take them off!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Is this really what we should be spending our time focusing on as a community board? I wish I had been at our meeting the other night as I would've never allowed some irrelevant stair bulkheads to come before our children's education, the state of our streets and safety in the neighborhood, not to mention the cleanup of that contaminated waterway we call a canal. Seems like Mr. Strabone has a personal bone to pick and is using our community board as a forum for his agenda. This is exactly why we have a checks and balances system, and Mr. Strabone should know this as he posts vehemently about politics. It's a said day people when we value rooftop structures that aren;t even visible from the streets over the state of our communities public school system. WHAT A JOKE!

Anonymous said...

1129--You wanna fix schools, run for city council or better yet get off your barney rubble and become a teacher or principle.

You want to protect a community from pollution over dense building and law breaking devlopers.....join a communty board or an association.

You just dont get it. But by posting you are admitting that mr strabone has already given you something that all your efforts in life have not: a voice a place to put it.

Next time, put down the magazine (hmmm) and get out of your lonely space and show up at a real world meeting with real world people.

Thats what grown ups do your bam bam!

Anonymous said...

Good to see that developers have discovered your site!!!

Illegal Bulkheadlivingroomcabans got to go, BRAVO!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey 1245, ever think a community board could do more? Like actually do some good for a neighborhood? There are city institutions set up to police developers, we should be focusing on more important issues than some stupid rooftop bulkheads. ROOF TOP BULKHEADS!!! We have the power to do so much more as a CB. It's really depressing that no community board leader, especailly Strabone, feels that there are more important issues at hand. We can lobby city agencies for things. As Mr. Strabone has shown by going to the department of buildigns and urban planning. We can lobby department of education for cleaner schools, better teachers. Or maybe most of you don;t care because your children go to elite private schools. You;re all a bunch of elitist NIMBYs and you should be ashamed of yourselves. Especially Mr. Strabone who has the power to do good, but instead is focussed on something that does not affect anyone with the exception of a few classicist architect types who can;t stand to see a sliver of a rooftop strcutre in their neighborhood. It's Atlantic Avenue for christ sakes. Try cleaning up all the trash on the street before you mount a crusade against the sky. Shame you all. Disgraceful.

An actual resident of Cobble Hill said...

This is an important issue because once the 50' barrier is broken, it will be that much harder to stop the next guy... and the next... and the next.

I attended the Community Board meeting at which Two Trees dismissed the importance of their illegal design by saying that the site is at the corner of the district.

The point of the Landmarks laws is to preserve the character of the neighborhood. That corner is "in", not "out". It is part of my neighborhood, and part of the reason I chose to live here.

(To the posters who say that the Community Board should busy itself with things like education and canals, I say: Those things are not in the Board's purview, and until you present a plan to fix them, we will discuss the matters already at hand.

To the posters who call 'elitist' and 'shame', I say: It is you who have nothing better to do than call others names. We are fighting for our homes. If you have a hidden financial interest in this matter, then you are dishonest as well as idle.)

Anonymous said...

12 45 here and 159 just doesn't get it!!! The city agencies need pressure from communities to enforce the communtiies interests and the LAW!!! They aare already under extra-ordinary influence from the developers (like you bozo) who pass the envelopes and get them drunk and laid and the constant application of the law is paramount to CH's survivavl as is. Until you realize there is a death-struggle going on right NOW!!!! you will never get it. (unless of course you're a devloper who miscalculated on CH's tenacity!!!)

DO Something for someone other than yourself and own interests. Like you lobbying for better teachers--I'm confident the CHA/Starbone would love more volunteers!!!

DOnt be a sniveling back bencher all your life or you will never like the view from the mirror!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Get a job 1:59 . I suggest start with school crossing guard--learn about system, meet actual people, then move up in the ranks, and all the while show up at meetings where things are decided and debated.
Its just that simple.
As a ranter without realty-based action, you will go nowhere one post at a time.
At least Strabone is doing the work and out in front---MEET him there!!!!

Anonymous said...

"That, because of the preceding claims, the aforesaid six enclosed spaces must be demolished immediately."

Dont stop, keep it up!!!!
if you take care of it now,wont have to put up with more assaults later!

Anonymous said...

"death-struggle going on right NOW"

You fucking moron. You have no concept of reality. Inatimate objects are not worthy of "Death Struggles". Your life must blow being caught in a "death struggle and all". HAhahahaha. IDIOT!

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good fight CHA--Say no to bulkhead-cabanas!

CAn't wait till they come down!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Before you know, Cabana-Boy David and his son, Jed (Clampett), along with their sidekick, Amish, will be putting "bulkeads" next to the Brooklyn Bridge. Maybe Strabone will figure out how and why our city agencies suck up to developers and not the people of New York! We need more Strabones in the world, not less!

A.P. of Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill said...

As a taxpayer, I'm paying for my community to be kept with utmost efficiency and awareness relative to our neighborhood. It is beyond absurd the onus is on us to police the City into enforcing the law.

I'm super glad Mr. Strabone is kicking ass and taking names for the residents of Cobble Hilll! Get these shady developers OUT OF HERE since they clearly don't care about the law, much less the neighborhood!