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4-10 West 21st Street (Ladies’ Mile Historic District), application for an amendment to the Certificate of Appropriateness for the consideration of visibility of the penthouse floors and the mechanical unit from vantage points on Fifth Avenue and 21st S

WHEREAS, The building, designed by Hugh Hardy is an as-of-right residential development following the rezoning of 17th Street through 22nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues; and

WHEREAS, It has been established in the rezoning documents that new buildings must have a maximum front wall height of 150 feet and a maximum total height of 185 feet, the top portion (35 feet) being recessed as to be invisible from the thoroughfares; and

WHEREAS, A Certificate of Appropriateness was issued on November 9, 2004, for the construction of an 185 foot building, with a front wall of 150 feet, and an additional 4 penthouse floors to be recessed 15 feet at the front in order to make them invisible from the thoroughfares; and

WHEREAS, At the time this application was reviewed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in 2004, some concern was expressed by Commissioner Olcott as far as the height and visibility of the top floors, and the applicant was asked to reassure the commission that the top floor would not be visible; and

WHEREAS, In September 2005, as the building was being erected and had reached the 8th floor, some concern was raised by residents of the neighborhood, both with LPC and Community Board Five, regarding the height and visibility of the top part of the building; and

WHEREAS, At that time, the applicant, The Brodsky Organization, assured both parties that their building was in conformity with their original plan, and the top floors would not be visible from the streets; and

WHEREAS, Now the applicant has acknowledged that there was an error with the rendering of the façade and assessment of the visibility; and

WHEREAS, The applicant has agreed to LPC that no further construction would be made on the contested floors until an agreement is reached; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five feels the applicant had ample time, since September 2005, to redo their measurements/renderings and refine their findings in order to avoid the present situation; and

WHEREAS, Being the first vacant lot to be developed in the recently rezoned portion of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, Community Board Five feels that if an amendment is granted, it would set an unfortunate and potentially dangerous precedent, because it could jeopardize the front wall harmony of this neighborhood; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five feels that the mistake made by the applicant should be corrected, so that the finished building is as per the documents filed with LPC; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends denial of the application which would allow the existing condition to remain and we recommended that the developer work with the Landmark Preservation Commission and Community Board Five to achieve a satisfactory resolution of the illegal height.

The above resolution passed with a vote of 31 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstention.

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