Thursday, January 22, 2009

13th Story Would Impact Environment on Historic Marx Brothers Place !

Please cut & paste & send the message below to BSA prior to the January 27, 2009 Public Hearing by Regular Mail or Email:

Ms. Meenakshi Srinivasan
Chair, NYC BSA
40 Rector Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10006-1705

Re: Objection to Application for Special Permit - Calendar Number 162-08-BZ, Property ID - 150 East 93rd Street, Block 1521, Lot 51, Manhattan.

Dear Madame Chair,

I strongly object to the applicant's request for a Special Permit to build a 13th floor above his penthouse which is already an additional structure that sits atop the roof of 150E93, one floor above the traditional penthouse floor, on historic Marx Brothers Place in Carnegie Hill.

150E93 abuts an important collection of historic brownstones that are older than any of the brownstones already in the CHHD. And, as you may know, there is a pending effort to extend the CHHD to include Marx Brothers Place within its protective boundaries. We all support this ongoing preservation effort.

In the meantime, it has come to my attention that the applicant in the above captioned case has submitted a preliminary shadow assessment, produced by Thomas A. Francis of Equity Environmental Engineering LLC in Flanders NJ, in an attempt to avoid having to do a full-blown Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In light of the myriad environmental issues raised by this case, I strongly believe an EIS is required by law.

Mr. Francis admits in the preliminary shadow assessment that he did not visit the site before offering his opinion, and is projecting a conclusion based solely upon his own broad theoretical calculations. Because the assessment was admittedly created in a vacuum, without the benefit of the relevant factors particular to historic East 93rd Street, it is wholly inadequate and must be disregarded in its entirety. Certainly, the preliminary shadow assessment submitted by the applicant can not be the basis for issuing a negative declaration in this case.

1.) The subject assessment assumes that 150E93 is surrounded by buildings of equal height which would theoretically intervene in shadows cast. But, because Mr. Francis was not given all the facts, his assumption here is incorrect as 150E93 abuts a row of tiny and ancient houses.

2.) The assessment also fails to contemplate the undeniable shadow that would be cast upon the collection of gardens on East 93rd Street, a vital ecosystem in NYC's fragile urban environment, if this proposed project were approved. For the fact is, the long row of four-story 19th century brownstones, which 150E93 abuts, has an equally long row of contiguous gardens that run the course of the rear yards.

These gardens lose sunlight at a particular time of day depending upon the season. The additional shadow that would, unquestionably, be cast upon these gardens, by a 13th story being added to the 12th floor addition that already sits atop the 150E93 roof, would limit the sunlight to which the resident flora & fauna are exposed. This impact to the environment makes it necessary for the applicant to do an EIS if BSA chooses to continue to hear his application.

I respectfully ask that BSA deny the applicant's request for a Special Permit to construct a 13th floor on top of the structure that already sits on top of the roof of 150E93 on historic Marx Brothers Place.

Respectfully submitted,

(please add your name & address)

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