Monday, June 09, 2014

Third Board Of Standards And Appeals Hearing On Rock And Roll Playhouse In Gowanus Scheduled For June 17th

280 Bond Street
View of residential homes abutting the building on Degraw Street
Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 5.01.19 PM
On Tuesday, June 17, the Board of Sandards and Appeals (BSA) once again will be hearing the case of 280 Bond Street, a non-conforming use abutting six residential townhouses that developer Peter Shapiro hopes to turn into the Rock And Roll Playhouse. This will be the third hearing on the matter.

Here is a bit of background on the matter:

Since 1961, when NYC Zoning districts were mapped, 280 Bond Street has housed a non-conforming use in a residential zone (R6 from 1961 - 2009, and R6-B since 2009) which only permits residential or community facility use.

Although the previous non-conforming uses in the residential zone are grandfathered and allowed continuing use, the R6-B zone has to be enforced when the non-conforming use is discontinued for two years.

We Are Gowanus (WAG), the group of residents who have been fighting to keep the proposed Rock And Roll Playhouse at 280 Bond Street from impacting their quality of life, claim that "Excellence in Plumbing", the business that was based at this location previously, had ceased operation long ago.

WAG reached out to the NYC Department of Buildings to point out that the new music venue should not be allowed under the existing R6B zoning and to make the agency aware of the discontinued use.
But DOB issued building permits for the Rock And Roll Playhouse nonetheless.

The group ultimately sued the Buildings Department to force DOB to issue its decision and the basis for it. In a final NYC DOB determination issued on October 2, 2013, the agency was in opposition to WAG.

With the help of lawyer Jack Lester, We Are Gowanus has appealed this decision to the Board Of Standards and Appeals.

Below is a press release on the upcoming hearing from We Are Gowanus:

Please join us on Tuesday, JUNE 17 at 10am for our next Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) hearing regarding 280 Bond Street (the proposed site of Rock and Roll Playhouse).

The hearing will take place at 22 Reade Street, Spector Hall (ground floor). It is critical for WAG to demonstrate community support with a strong turnout at this upcoming hearing.

Here's an update about 280 Bond Street and the two previous BSA Hearings:

First Hearing: January 2014
The first hearing revealed no evidence of an actual business at 280 Bond St. The BSA Chair instructed the attorney for the owner of 280 Bond Street to produce evidence for the next hearing.

Second Hearing: March 2014
The second hearing offered minimal supporting evidence of an ongoing business from the early 1980s to the present. The BSA Chair highlighted this omission, and gave the owner of 280 Bond another opportunity to demonstrate that business actually occurred at that site.

At the same time, WAG provided evidence that the building owner had been convicted of federal tax evasion, and in the course of that proceeding he swore under oath to the Manhattan DA that he had had no active business at the location from 2008-2011.

Third Hearing - originally May 2014; postponed until June 17
This hearing was postponed to allow a new DOB attorney to get up to speed on the case.

We’ve received fantastic letters of support from State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Joan Millman.

We look forward to seeing you on June 17!

All the best,

We Are Gowanus

Both State Assemblywoman Joan Millman as well as State Senator Velmanette Montgomery have recently written letters to members of the Board Of Standards and Appeal in support of We Are Gowanus.  Please see letters below.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 10.30.09 AM.jpg
Montgomery WAG letter copy.jpg


Anonymous said...

Never underestimate what 4 people with enough money to pay lawyers and enough clout to get the Borough President in their apartment can do.

Anonymous said...

Anon has no community organizing experience. This is is a broad coalition of neighbors here who want to see R6B zoning respected as the whole of the Gowanus gets redeveloped. If we sit idly by and allow our politicians to spot rezone according to their whims (and campaign donors) we will have a slew of Lightstone projects going on around us. They are accountable to us, their constituents and we are watching.