Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No approval for illegal rooftop addition!

Yesterday at Public Hearing, the LPC reviewed 12-14 West 68th Street in light of its renewed application for legalization of the illegal rooftop addition.  This time, with modifications (reminder: in 2009, as-is legalization was denied). 

Following a brief project summary by the architect, members of the public testified in strong opposition to the proposal.  LW's statement was complemented by strong letters from other advocacy organizations, like the Historic Districts Council, as well as architects, professional artists, residents of the Hotel des Artistes, lawyers, and others concerned about this issue.

Next, it was the Commissioners' turn. 
Comm. Roberta Gratz kicked discussion off with a POW!  That there is a new owner, she stated, has no impact on the decision of the Commission.  The Commissioners go to great pains on a regular basis to work out the details of rooftop additions visible from the public way, which this certainly is.  Had this come through via legal channels in the first place, there is no way she can believe the addition would have been approved.  They cannot, she declared, approve it now.

With her words to inspire them, the other Commissioners (Diana Chapin, Christopher Moore, Elizabeth Ryan, and Pablo Vengoechea) agreed that they most certainly could not approve of the illegal addition with the modifications proposed.  With no quorum, they were unable to take an official vote.  And so the hearing was closed and all departed.

, later in the afternoon, LW! received word that upon reconvening after lunch, the Commission regained a quorum and went back to vote on 12-14 West 68th Street!  The details from here are fuzzy, but word on the street is that the Commission voted to not approve of the modified addition.  Whether it was fully denied or if it was simply not approved (and the applicant was directed to consult with staff for possible modifications to the proposal) we cannot yet say.

Stay tuned for updates!

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