The Board of Standards and Appeals recently decided in favor of developers seeking to build rooftop additions at 329-335 East 9th Street and to allow illegally built additions to remain at 514-516 East 6th Street. GVSHP, residents, community advocates, as well as Councilmember Mendez had testified before the Board in opposition to the additions citing concerns about the preservation of the low-rise character of the East Village and a number of issues related to the Multiple Dwelling Law and the NYC Building Code.
Built in 1859 as five-story tenements by William B. Astor, 514-516 East 6th Street have been involved in a long-standing battle of residents and community advocates against the developer and their flagrant violation of the Multiple Dwelling Law, the 2008 East Village Rezoning, and the NYC Building Code. Despite these issues this week the Board of Standards and Appeals voted unanimously to reinstate permits allowing the enlargement which had previously been revoked by the Department of Buildings.
You can read our previous post, Just Say No to Illegal Rooftop Additions, to learn more about what has transpired at 514-516 East 6th Street.
The owner of the remarkably intact tenements at 329-335 East 9th Street sought variances from the Board of Standards and Appeals to build additional floors without full compliance with the Multiple Dwelling Law which requires updated fire and safety measures when tenements are enlarged beyond 6 stories. These building have retained their cornices and façade ornamentation and are on a historic block of East 9th Street between 1st & 2nd Avenues that is also very much intact with buildings of cohesive scale and heights. Despite the strong arguments against these additions being permitted from GVSHP (read our testimony here), Councilmember Mendez, and the East Village Community Coalition the Board of Standards and Appeals voted in favor of permitting these additions.
Learn more about the buildings at 329-335 East 9th Street and the significance of the Multiple Dwelling Law as it pertains to enlarging tenement by reading this post: Developer Seeks Variances from Board of Standards and Appeals. You can also read about what’s proposed to be built in the lot next to these buildings here.
We also recently lent our voice to the fight against rooftop additions at the Hopper-Gibbons House at 339 West 29th Street in the Lamartine Place Historic District, a mid-19th century rowhouse with a remarkable place in our nation’s history as the only documented site of the Underground Railroad in Manhattan and a target of the New York City Draft Riots of 1863.
Speaking of preserving the low rise character of the East Village: don’t forget that the Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed East Village/Lower East Side Historic District on October 9. If you would like to see this area protected with landmark designation please send a letter to the LPC before October 9, expressing your support. You can find contact information and a sample letter here.