Report from the BSA: 30-Day Extensions All Around

A big crowd turned out on Wednesday for the BSA hearing on the fate of the six developments in Greenwood Heights and the South Slope seeking to get a variance–some claiming hardship, some claiming substantial completion of their foundation–from having to conform to the new downzoning laws that went into effect last year. Lots of pols (or their reps, anyway) showed their faces as did members of numerous local and citywide groups such as Historic Districts Council and the Municipal Arts Society. The bottom line: All the developers and their lawyers were sent away and told to return in a month for more hearings. We’re having a hard time cutting through all the agendas involved to determine what the likelihood of these developers getting a free pass is. Anyone experienced with how the BSA works? We were under the impression that more often than not they approve requests.
Photo by Travis Ruse

0 Comment

  • That’s right, reward the developers and their subs for flaunting the law, along with their complete disregard for giving half a shit about the neighborhood they’re building in. Why have any rules or laws on the books anyway. Just break them, pay a fine, and finish your project. That’s what el Presidente does as he leads by example.

  • well some lawyers that i have dealt with in the bsa say that they have a 100% track record af approvals. but the reason for that is. they poll the bsa through their assistants and if they feel they dont have the votes they withdraw the application. so that is why peopel say most of the bsa gets approved. what you need to check is how many withdawls of applications there are.

    and anyway it is not a “free pass” they want they wany what they are entitled to by the laws on new york city. and not the harrassment they got from doing their work.

    what would you do if people called the department of child services on your damily just to harrass you. the come into your house start questiond you and your children. they might even take them away if they dont like the way your apartment looks. just because someone doesnt like you.

    i hope you get the picture. people hink they can do things beyond the law and we harras them until they conform to our beliefs.

  • Yet another corrupt city organization.

    And to lizman 9:27, if someone called child services on me, and when they showed up, I was beating my kid with a belt, I would fully expect them to put me away and lock me up, not give me a $10 fine and say don’t do it again.

  • lizMan, you completely neglect the fact that the so-called “harrassment” is the result of the developers NOT playing by the rules, working off hours, cutting corners, avoiding safety regulations, and in fact harrassing the very people who must live with behaviorial malfunctions imposed upon them. Don’t spin this as the developers getting the short end of the stick because the neighbors are preaching NIMBY. THe developers refuse to play by the rules. It’s as if they have a “signing statement” that allows them to engage in behavior that gives them a free pass to shit on the neighborhood and get away it. They do it again and again. No one begrudges responsible development within the context and confines of the law, but these developers continually push so far beyond what they know is permissable, that they should be penalized for that intransience. This time it’s too friken bad for them. Play by the rules (because the rest of us have to) or go play with yourself (double entondre intended).

  • why can’t it be both?
    the developers are breaking the rules.
    and the neighbors are playing nimby.

  • Anon 10:42 and lizmsn:

    The neighbors are not playing NIMBY in this case. Long hard struggle for rezoning. Certain developers did not “beat the clock,” even though the rushed like hell to do so, most illegally. Many did beat the clock, many legally.

    Some (7 sites) who did not, CHOSE to appeal. Many did not and refilled under the new zoning, and still are able to develop their sites.

    The BSA hearing is to see whether they should vest or be able to prove “hardship.” In these cases the community came out in force (over a 100+ folks) to say NO. You didn’t beat the clock, there is no hardship, develop under the new zoning and still make a decent $$. In one case, sure not the $18M you wanted, but $15M, $13M or even $10M still bad? Gimme a break. I am confidant the BSA will do the right thing…

  • Yes. Long hard struggle for rezoning. For reasons of nimby.

  • The irony of Katan’s dilemma at 178-186 15th St. is ripe with substance:

    1. He was originally going to close on the property in July of 2004. For some reason he decided to string along the sellers (much to their dismay) until mid-April of 2005. A full 10 months where he could have completed his foundation.

    2. When the “professionals” at MMG began demolition (with handtools and no safety equipment), they spent eight weeks polluting the neighborhood with asbestos, lead paint dust, and god knows what else. Had Katan not jerked off for 10 months and completed his plans in a timely fashion, his 130′ monster wou;ld going up without objection.

    3. His patent disregard for community feeling or involvement, along with the expectation that nothing was going to stand in his way has turned out to be a VERY expensive miscalculation on his part. He paid $5 million for the property and has at least another $15 million in loans to get the project moving forward. As no “real” work has been done since mid-October, the payments on his misunderestimation (Bushism) of the community’s resolve just HAS to hurt…his wallet that is. Payback’s a bitch.

    Play by the rules or go play with yourself.

  • The BSA is a world unto itself. A schmoozy little world. Most of the attorneys who appear before the BSA have been doing this for years and there are only a handful who regularly do this – who knows what gets done over a beer. If there is a big enough public presence then sometimes the “little” people can prevail.

  • Katan is an ego maniac who has shit on everyone who comes in contact with him.
    Every one of his progects is layden with lawsuits and peoples ruined lives. He, like his lawyer Mr. Hoernblower, believes that since the City, in it’s ultimate stupidity , has allowed him to break the law in the past, then he should be allowed to continue doing so.
    In fact that has been the premise of there case through out this struggle.
    He should be put in (Rikers Island not some white collar resort) and all his buildings should be torn down.

  • The developers and their contractors have been playing by the same set of rules for years and years. Its the community, that all of a sudden, is changing the rules of how buildings get built by actually taking the time to read the rule book. Katan and Radusky of Bricolage Designs have been playing Scrabble without a dictionary for so long they actually are starting to believe “KRYXGING” is a real word. As someone who lives behind 400 15th Street, one of the properties seeking to build under the old R6 zoning rules, NIMBY does not apply since a good section of my neighbor’s back yard actually disappeared into the black hole that is this excavation. W IMBY is more appropriate, as in “Where is my back yard? ” This one developer and his general contractor have managed to damage every adjoining property in some way and then plead before the BSA, “financial hardship” due to the fact that it’s going to cost him $$$ to fix them. My neighbors complained to 311 for more than two weeks to the DOB about the unsafe, unprofessional, excavation work going on with every complaint being found to be unjustified. It wasn’t until 396 15th developed a crack 6” wide running from front to rear, that a violation was finally issued. Pretty scary when someone actually cries the sky is falling and then it actually does. The community of the South Slope is saying what about our hardship? Business as usual? I don’t think so, not anymore.

  • I have seen the deception and lies Katan and his familiar Bricolage employ as usual business tactics for years and I find it disgusting that these creeps can break laws with impunity and destroy people’s safe enjoyment of their homes and blocks. I wish BSA or the DOB would sprout a pair, and you know who really sucks? Our DA, HYnes, who loves a big mafia trial and the press splash that makes, but ignores the wild west behavior of white collar criminals in Brooklyn who, basking in their immunity, have moved on in the last year or two to actually killing people because they know they can get away with it. Plus, the unsafe, poorly made buildings being thrown up around town will continue to damage other homes and other lives in the years to come as they settle and possibly fail.

  • Just to clarify something. We Developer don’t claim hardship because we have to repair the properties that we’ve destroyed. In fact we could care less for the properties or lives that are intentionally destroyed so that we can make MORE money.
    No! Our hard ship (and you are going to love this 1) is because the community is preventing us from making many millions in profit.
    In fact 90% of our hardship claims are based on the premise that “I bought this property for so much and have borrowed so much with the expectation that I would make so much. If you don’t let me finish this project as I planned then I won’t make as much as I wanted. So the hell with your rules and regulation. And the hell with your community and all the people who have been injured or killed; You have to let us finish what we stated. If you don’t like it sue me and all my LLC’s. I don’t care cause you’ll never get a cent out of me.”
    That’s the way it has always been. What makes you think that you have the right to change things now.
    You should just keep slaving to pay your taxes and support your Politicians (who are all in my pocket) and leave all this other stuff to me and my friends.
    By the way:
    Fuck you all and Your City Too. The only reason that I am here is to exploit all you assholes and then I’ll be on my merry way back to My real home.

  • From a friend:
    The other day I was walking past the Katan shit box going up on 16th Street. Out of nowhere, my 6 year old said to me: “What’s going to happen when that thing falls?”
    If only the City officials, who have allowed these disasters to proceed, had as much common sense.

  • I agree. You can’t blame Katan. There are laws. There are communities with every opportunity and right before them to prevent the sickness of sprawl.

    People are only now waking up to the fact that they themselves have the responsibility to fight him — through their local government, through neighborhood activism.

    But it’s too few too late. That;s what you get for neglect — parasites will take advantage where you forgot to clean up.

  • Why is it that the developer’s lawyers are given additional time to convince the members of the BSA why their clients projects should go forward? If local citizens hadn’t done their homework do you think the Board would give them another 30 days to represent a stronger case? If the lawyers were so poorly prepared to answer the questions posed by the BSA, assuming these same lawyers practice this as their speciality, doesn’t it seem that they’re used to playing with a stacked deck? Is it not just plain disrespectful and unprofessional to everyone involved, especially to the local citizens? If anything, by making these proceedings more transparent to the public, we can see how little power the DOB has in enforcing their decisions, rules, and regulations. The DoB has spoken; the foundations were incomplete, not vested under the old R6 ZONING.

  • To all the gray-hairs posting on this forum: We don’t give a fsck about you are your pathetic desires.

    The south slope is a dump, and while you may have won this particular zoning battle, the future of that neighborhood is demolition, one way or another.

    Once again, the baby boomers have raped the nation at the expense of their children. Your selfishness will earn you a place in hell.