280 Bond Street, between between Sackett and Degraw Street
280 Bond Street
Before Shapiro can proceed with his plans, the Board needs to determine if the previous non-conforming use of the building in an R6-B (residential) zone can be continued.
The case was brought in front of the BSA by We Are Gowanus (WAG), a group of neighborhood residents, who are fighting to prevent the establishment of this music venue. The group maintains that the R6-B zone should be enforced because the non-conforming use of the building was discontinued for more than two years.
Alvin Isacowitz, the building's owner, claims in his affidavit to the BSA that he continuously ran his plumbing business, Excellence in Plumbing & Heat, at that location until signing a lease and turning over the building to Peter Shapiro in 2012.
So far, Isacowitz has been unable to submit viable evidence to substantiate his claim. In fact, under sworn testimony to the DA in a 2011 criminal matter, Isacowitz stated that his business had stopped operating in 2008. His testimony points to an interruption of his business for more than two years prior to 2012.
At the first hearing on this matter in January, BSA Chairperson Meenakshi Srinivasan and the other members of the Board gave Isacowitz more time to provide proof of business operations.
At the second BSA hearing on Tuesday, Isacowitz's legal council was able to provided a few DOB permits tied to another Excellence in Plumbing & Heat business address -- critically not 280 Bond Street -- but no actual evidence of an ongoing business. He provided no employee records, no tax returns, no invoices, no receipts, no work logs, and no bank statements. Nothing. Isacowitz's lawyer claimed to the BSA that his client’s financial advisor had told him to destroy all such documentation. This lack of evidence, along with Isacowitz’s own sworn testimony to the DA, support termination of the non-conforming use of the building.
Once again, the BSA decided to provide more time for the owner to prove that he maintained his business through 2012. The next hearing is scheduled for May 20th.