Onward but not upward was the ruling of New York State Judge W. Franc Perry this past Thursday. The developer of 200 Amsterdam Avenue is now being told by the state courts that they will have to remove as many as 20 floors because they are exceeding zoning boundaries.
The Department of Buildings recently approved the developers continuation with the project according to their plans. This decision was met with disappointment and a vow to pursue further action by groups including the Municipal Art Modern Society and Committee for Environmentally Sound Enhancement.
Many of the already built floors will be required to be cut down from the 668 foot tower. The groups who brought the lawsuit argued that the developers used a gerrymandering technique with partial nearby tax lots in order to achieve such large air rights for the property and that it was a violation of NYC zoning codes. There was always the chance that this could happen because the developers continued to build as litigation was still ongoing.
Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the Municipal Art Modern Society stated that, “The directive to partially demolish the construction is appropriate given the willingness of the developer to dismiss just about every indication that their job was inappropriately scaled for the neighborhood and centered on a radical and wildly inaccurate interpretation of the Zoning Resolution.”
Those who opposed the construction of 200 Amsterdam Ave, have said that the building is not of scale with neighborhood buildings. Local politician Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal and Community Board 7 have been outspoken on their views that the developers have circumvented laws to work in their favor.
The surprising judgment goes against 40 years of precedent and pits the state against agencies like the DOB. The developers plan to appeal the ruling.