August 6th, 2019, the BSA first hearing was standing room only and more than 3 hours long.
John Low-Beer presented first with Chuck Weinstock in the house. He gave a lengthy, detailed argument supporting why the DOB should not have issued the permit for 50 W 66th Street. John and Chuck have spent a great deal of time working on this case for us.
After John, it was George Janes, who was followed by Stuart Klein, appearing for LW! and then David Karnovsky on Extell’s behalf.
Also testifying was Michael Zoltan for the DOB, CCM Helen Rosenthal made an emotional appeal, followed by MBP Gale Brewer and Caitlyn Letterii from ASM Linda Rosenthal’s office. NYS Senator Brad Hoylman submitted testimony.
The Commission asked speakers to line up and we reached to the back of the room. President Michael Gruen was there, along with CB7, advocacy groups and residents who testified in support of the appeals. A few members of Congregation Habonim testified in opposition.
Briefs were requested from all parties, first set due on Aug 21st, and the second set on August 28th. The plan was for the BSA to set another hearing — presumably just to announce its decision.
But the BSA continued the hearing, allowing testimony on September 10th. And once again it played to a packed house with our Elected Officials, joined by NYC Comptroller’s Scott Stringer’s office, in making another appearance to support the appeals. This hearing saw even more residents and neighbors taking the podium.
The visual “ah ha” moment came when Chris Giordano, President of the W64-67th St Block Assoc, brought in a scale model to show just how absurd this result will be.
By the BSA Review Session on Sept 16th, it was apparent that several Commissioners were uncomfortable ruling against the appeals. However, it was stated that it was not their job to fix the text but rather apply the text that is there. On the 17th, they voted no and denied our appeal.
The one glimmer of hope was that the Board agreed to continue to hear LW!’s case on the misappropriated mechanical space in the building.
Stay tuned for what happens when the BSA next convenes on Dec 17th for a public hearing on this issue.