Bad News from the BSA

The NYC Board of Standards and Appeals has decided that the construction of a 61 unit apartment building at 3329-3333 Giles Place can proceed, despite the rezoning of the neighborhood, allowing only detached 2-family homes.
After seven years of community opposition and hours of work and appearances where we presented arguments that the builder did not have vested rights to continue building under the old zoning, the BSA rules that
1) substantial expenditures were made by the builder (although they could not produce a single cancelled check),
2) a substantial portion of the foundation was completed (although the foundation is 4 feet too close to the curb)
3) and that substantial economic loss would result if the building were not permitted.
Although we shot significant hols in the first two arguments, the BSA still determined that the standard for common-law vesting was met. We are profoundly disappointed by this decision that flies in the face of all logic. It appears that when a builder wants to build, in Bloomberg’s New York, the city will always support the builder even when the community unanimously opposes construction and when the builder has done a minimum of work. This case sets the bar very low for what is “enough” work to earn common-law vesting.
We are disappointed, but we are not discouraged. Take heart — we, with the help of the neighborhood, will vigilantly monitor the permiting process and construction, to be sure that:
1) the builder builds a safe, attractive building, no larger than he is allowed to build, and adheres to the Building Code,
2) the builder is careful not to damage the retaining wall, or the property of neighbors, during construction,
3) the builder works only during authorized hours
4) the builder doesn’t close the street or otherwise inconvenience neighbors
We encourage you to be part of our continuing efforts to rein in irresponsible development in our neighborhood, and our efforts to beautify our neighborhood, best exemplified by the Sholem Aleichem/Cannon Place Garden. Keep in touch with us at, or follow us on Twitter @FIPNA.
Judy Baier
Margaret Groarke
Teresa Grant Stoeth

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