Just issued Temporary Certificate Of Occupancy # 7
to enlarge, click here
Back in December 2009, the Board of Hannah Senesh Day School drew attention to itself when it revealed its plans for a two-story expansion onto the city-owned courtyard next to the school. However, Carroll Gardens' unique courtyards are protected by a 150-year-old law, which forbids anyone from building or parking on them.
With the help of lobbyist Ken Fisher, Hannah Senesh was able to convince then-Councilman Bill de Blasio that this was a good idea. In his last days as this community's public elected official, de Blasio was ready to introduce to the Council a bill which would have altered the law by exempting the courtyard on First Place at Smith Street.
When it became known, the plan met with tremendous opposition from the Carroll Gardens community. The overwhelming sentiment was clear: not even one of our signature courtyards can be lost.
Why Hannah Senesh Day School needs to expand so quickly after moving into the building in September 2007, is unclear. The Board's Vice-Chair, Amy Glosser, was quick to say that the school did not intend on growing its enrollment. Glosser stated that the expansion was "not about getting bigger, but about getting better."
Could there possibly be another reason why the school is pursuing the expansion?
Since Hannah Senesh moved into their new location at 342 Smith Street in the fall of 2007, the school building has not been issued a permanent Certificate of Occupancy by the New York City Buildings Department.
So far, seven Temporary Certificates have been issued. That is rather an unusual amount. Between T.C. # 6, which expired in September 2008 and T.C. # 7 issued in January 2010, the school did not have ANY permit.
How could this be?
On January 19, 2010, the Buildings Department presented the school with a list of 14 open items needed before a permanent C.of O. can be issued. Amongst those items is a final plumbing sign-off, a fire alarm/signal system sign-off and Place Of Assembly sign-off.
There is also a special notation that there would be no more issuance of Temporary Certificates without a review.
The Buildings Department, I have heard, gives special consideration to schools to ensure that they have all the correct permits in a timely fashion. Why then has it taken Hannah Senesh Day School so long to get a permanent one?
And more importantly, why was the school able to operate without even a temporary permit between the end of '08 and the beginning of '10?
Whatever the problem with the D.o.B, one has to wonder if the expansion is a must rather than a need.
And are the school's parents aware of any of this?
To read previous posts about Hannah Senesh expansion, click here
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