More Back and Forth Over 200 Amsterdam Avenue

  Last modified on April 27th, 2020

City vs. State – and City vs. City Representatives – seems to be the latest twist in the saga behind 200 Amsterdam Avenue.

As we recently reported, Judge W. Franc Perry, a state judge, ruled that 200 Amsterdam Avenue would be retroactively penalized because of their interpretation and use of zoning regulations. The penalty, having to dismantle approximately 20 floors from the top of the building, was shocking to many, because of the retroactive nature.

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This ruling came after the DOB had granted approval for the developers to build. Now, the city has sided with the DOB and filed an appeal against the State ruling. The appeal, which was filed on Tuesday by Mayor Bill De Blasio’s Law Department, does not think the State should have a say in how the city handles zoning and regulations.

According to the president of the New York Building Congress, Carlo Scissura, if the State is able to change decisions made by the DOB, it sets a dangerous precedent, which would create uncertainty and risk, threatening an industry that has already been crippled and changed in recent years.

Since granting 200 Amsterdam Ave permission to build, the DOB has closed the loophole that allowed the developers to use favorable zoning laws. Earlier this week the DOB issued a statement that the new zoning rules would be in effect immediately, but would not be retroactive.

Richard Emery, an attorney for the opposition to 200 Amsterdam Avenue, stated he was glad that the DOB recognized what was obvious, but that it should go further to disallow further construction at the building.

Even with the City’s official stance that they are appealing the decision made by the State, not all city representatives are on board. An email that was sent out by Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal slams NYC and the Law Department for filing an appeal.

“The building at 200 Amsterdam Avenue has been a flashpoint for the community and the City as a whole because it so clearly exemplifies the type of developer overreach that the City’s laissez faire attitude toward over-development has allowed and even invited. Despite overwhelming community opposition and on uncertain legal footing, the building’s developer, SJP Properties, raced to erect a glass super tower hoping a finished structure would insulate it against legal consequence. And SJP did so with the tacit endorsement of the City of New York and each of its agencies, which could have stopped SJP at multiple points during the process but refused to do so,” the email states. You can read a copy here.

Rosenthal argues that the city failed and instead supports “wealthy developers” in place of concerned citizens. She argues that the State is needed in this case to be an impartial third party voice.

SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan American have filed their own appeal as well. The Real Deal reports that they have applauded the city for “taking a stand against a legally flawed court ruling that seeks to apply a new policy, not adopted until after the court handed down its decision, retroactively to a project that has been already built, with zoning that has been approved and consistently upheld by the Department of Buildings and Board of Standards and Appeals.”

Opponents say that are not asking for any type of deconstruction while the appeals play out, but that work be stopped until there is a final ruling. For now, construction continues and so do the court dates.

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