Thursday, September 25, 2008
According to Bill Stein, developer of Oliver House at 360 Smith Street, his foundation is completed. That is at least what his legal council, Deirdre Carson and structural engineer Neil Wexler of Wexler Associates stated in front of the Board Of Standards and Appeals yesterday morning.
Mr. Stein's construction site was served with a Stop Work Order immediately following the passing of the Zoning Text Amendment by the City Council back in July.
In order to continue the project, Stein has two choices: He either conforms to the new zoning regulations and puts up a 55 foot building instead of the 70 foot one that he intended, or he tries to convince the B.S.A. that his foundation was complete before the Stop Work Order went into effect. And for good measure, he will plead financial hardship if they don't give him what he wants.
Stein of course chose to appeal, which brought him in front of the five members of the B.S.A. yesterday morning.
Mr. Wexler, Stein's engineer, explained that due to its location over a subway tunnel, 360 Smith is an unusual site with two different building foundations: One foundation is made up of a "complex pile foundation" located on only one side of the building. The second, according to Wexler, is supported on the original subway foundation. In other words, the 60 year old subway tunnel that had been reinforced with cement when it was built, is to act as a 'super foundation' for most of Oliver House.
All Stein needs to do, according to Wexler is to put a mat foundation over the subway tunnel, but that cannot be considered 'a foundation element.' Rather, this mat is 'designed specifically to protect the subway roof of the tunnel structure.'
In other words, according to Wexler, Stein's foundation is done.
B.D.A. Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan asked if additional excavation needed to be done since that would need to be taken into consideration. In response, Wexler stated: " No more excavation for foundation purposes."
During the public comment session, many Carroll Gardeners took the stand to ague that Stein had ample notice that the neighborhood was working to have the wide-streets loophole closed.
They suggested to the Board that Stein's original application was made under a flawed version of the zoning law. Now that the mistake has been fixed, Stein should have to conform.
The Board scheduled another hearing on the matter for October 28th. Additional information will be accepted till October14.
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