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)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.
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.
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.