Category: Blog Post


ERFA Members: Join us for the last and final chapter of our battle

By Team ERFA,

ERFA IS THE POWER OF MANY VOICES

 

HELP US SAVE THE EAST RIVER FIFTIES FROM A LOOMING, TOWERING NIGHTMARE

JOIN US FOR THE LAST AND FINAL CHAPTER OF OUR BATTLE

 

WHEN:  Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 10 a.m.

WHAT:   2nd BSA Hearing re: 430 East 58th StreeT

WHERE: 22 Reade Street, New York, NY

WHY: Oppose Construction of a Megatower at 430 East 58th Street

 

SPECIAL NOTE: The BSA hearing is called for 10 a.m.  ERFA will likely be called to appear around 11 a.m., but that is subject to change, without notice.If you have time constraints, please bring a copy of your testimony to the hearing to ensure that it is included with all of our submissions.Winning requires a level of commitment that transcends what is typically necessary in connection with the exercise of rights in the democratic process.We must absolutely bring a show of force to this hearing: speakers, passionate community members, concerned citizens to help us get to the finish line.

 

Express yourself. Make your voice heard.  

ERFA. We are the power of many voices.  Together we can preserve our city.

 

Tell the BSA to make them Build it Right.

Support the East River Fifties Alliance. Please donate now. 

REMINDER: UPCOMING BSA HEARING

By Team ERFA,

WHEN: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 time to be announced
WHAT: 2nd BSA Hearing re 430 East 58th
WHERE: 22 Reade Street, New York, NY
WHY: Oppose Construction of a Megatower at 430 East 58th Street

After a two-month lull in public activity following the Board of Standards & Appeals (“BSA”) April 10th hearing, the fight to protect our neighborhood from construction of a massive, overbearing megatower is again in high gear and we need your participation.

When we learned that a developer was planning to construct a monstrous megatower at 430 East 58th Street and realized that our entire neighborhood was at risk, we rose up and, with the help of our elected officials, succeeded in achieving a zoning change to prevent the construction of megatowers anywhere in our community. The rezoning of the East River Fifties was approved by the City Council on November 30, 2017 by a 45-0 vote with one abstention.

Remember that when the City Council enacted the zoning change, it removed a grandfathering provision which had been inserted by the City Planning Commission to permit the developer to construct the planned 58th Street megatower. The developer tried to persuade the City Council to retain the grandfathering provision, but, after listening to testimony by ERFA and others, the City Council expressly rejected it.

Then – In December 2017, in a further effort to avoid the restrictions of the new law, the developer submitted an application to the BSA seeking authorization to construct a building as per plans filed with the Department of Buildings prior to the zoning change, i.e., to have its planned megatower “grandfathered.”

We were undeterred from our resolve to protect our community!

 

WHAT HAPPENED?
The BSA held a hearing on April 10th to consider arguments for and against grandfathering the developer’s planned megatower under the old zoning rules. The developer sought approval of its application, and ERFA presented numerous reasons why the application should be disapproved.
Because of issues raised by ERFA at the April 10th hearing, the BSA concluded that it needed more information and further analysis before it could make a decision. The BSA scheduled a second hearing to take place on June 19th at which it will hear further arguments for and against approval of the developer’s application.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
During the past two months, we have been actively gathering information and preparing legal arguments in preparation for the June 19th hearing. We are now convinced even more than before that the developer has not met the legal requirements for BSA approval of its application, and we intend to prove our case.
We will demonstrate, among other things, that the after-hours and weekend work permits obtained by the developer as a “safety” measure were not necessary for safety reasons, did not meet the legal requirements for issuance of such permits, and should never have been issued. That means that the construction work performed on those days should NOT be counted when deciding whether the developer made “substantial progress” toward construction of the building’s foundation prior to the zoning change. And if “substantial progress” was not made, the BSA must disapprove the application.
That argument is only one of numerous compelling reasons we will give for the BSA to disapprove the developer’s application — any one of which, alone, would be sufficient to show that the developer is not entitled to the “grandfathering” exception requested, and that to grant it would constitute a violation of New York City Law.

 

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
We remain optimistic that, working with our public officials, we can be successful in the defense of our community.

The continued unwavering resolve of our community is a critical component of that success. Let’s show our strength!

We urge all New Yorkers who are against the Looming Towering Nightmare that the developer is trying to construct at 430 East 58th Street to attend the BSA public hearing on June 19th and show support for ERFA and the City’s zoning law.

We encourage all of our supporters to speak at the hearing, but regardless of whether you choose to make a personal statement, your presence itself makes an essential statement.

YOUR VOICE, YOUR PRESENCE  LED THE DAY at BSA

By Team ERFA,

10 April 2018

Dear All,

An expression of tremendous gratitude goes out to our many committed ERFA members for attending today’s hearing at the Board of Standards & Appeals. While the downtown early morning was gray and misty, the sky began to clear many hours later when the hearing adjourned.

If you attended the hearing and were able to testify, please know that the registered impact of that was powerful. Whether your speech was a simple, “I live in the neighborhood and I am opposed to this megatower,” or a more extended explanation, there is no question that our steadfast commitment to protecting the East River Fifties is now well documented with this government agency.

Importantly, if you attended the hearing and were unable to stay due to time constraints, we remain grateful for your effort and your presence.

PLEASE KNOW THAT YOUR TESTIMONY CAN STILL BE REGISTERED BY MAILING IT TO:

Hon. Chair Margery Perlmutter

Board of Standards & Appeals
250 Broadway, 29th floor
New York, NY 10007 

Also, your names as participating speakers was registered with the BSA upon sign in. That long list of people who wished to speak, plus the very presence of so many other members of our community, made a vivid impression on the commissioners.

Finally, our next hearing date has been set for the 19th of June. Please stay tuned for further information regarding upcoming ERFA meetings, and again, many thanks for your commitment and passion on behalf of the neighborhood we all know and love.

All best wishes,

 

ERFA leadership Team


Please help fund this effort by making a donation today.

Your Voice Counts More Than Ever: Be Heard at BSA

By Team ERFA,

COME AND BE HEARD AT THE
BOARD OF STANDARDS & APPEALS
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

WHEN:       Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
LOCATION: Hearing Room, 22 Reade Street, New York, NY
TIME:          9:00 a.m.

On the 30th of November, 2017, the East River Fifties Alliance (ERFA) together with the steadfast support and commitment of elected officials Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, and State Senator Liz Krueger, achieved an appropriate rezoning of the area from East 51st Street to East 59th Street, east of First Avenue, an unprecedented and hard-won victory for this neighborhood and community.
Prior to the rezoning, the developer of the 430 East 58th Street construction site requested a special grandfathering exception that would have allowed construction of a massive, overbearing mega-tower in our neighborhood, but the City Council expressly rejected it.

In December, notwithstanding the City Council’s rejection of the grandfathering request, the developer applied to the Board of Standards & Appeals (BSA) to request a special exception to the new zoning law to implement his plan to build a megatower in our neighborhood.

WHERE WE ARE

ERFA will present a strong case to the BSA opposing the developer’s request for the special exception he seeks to construct the megatower.

We will emphasize to the BSA that ERFA does not want to stop construction; it wants to stop a Looming Towering Nightmare of a building in a residential neighborhood that is now protected — by law — against such absurdly tall towers. The developer is free to build a luxury building that complies with the new law’s “tower-on-a-base” design requirements. That design standard is reasonable and the developer is required to adhere to it. This is also the position taken by Mayor de Blasio on this issue.

Although the history of the development site is complex, the present developer took control of the site months after a public, community-led, formal and official rezoning initiative was already well underway. Our community effort was supported by key elected officials; yet the developer continued to move ahead with an accelerated construction schedule, aided and abetted by numerous and unusual City-issued permits to work on off-hours, weekends, and holidays.

We have amassed a body of evidence confirming that the developer is not entitled to the exception requested, and that to grant it would constitute a violation of New York City law.

ERFA expects to receive a fair hearing on the facts at the Board of Standards & Appeals. That hearing is now scheduled for the 10th of April.

COME AND BE HEARD. 

LET THE BOARD OF STANDARDS & APPEALS KNOW THAT

THERE IS NO PLACE FOR A MEGATOWER 

IN THE EAST RIVER FIFTIES.

 

We urge all New Yorkers who are against the Looming Towering Nightmare to attend the BSA public hearing on April 10 and show support for ERFA and the City’s zoning law.

It’s time for the good people of New York City to win on the merits, not the greedy ones who want an exception from the law.

Update from ERFA Leadership Committee

By Team ERFA,

Dear Friends of ERFA,

We’ve won the battle but we have not won the war….yet!

As many of you know, we had a very successful evening Town Hall meeting in February. For those that missed it, here is a summary of the current facts and status surrounding our rezoning:
  • The New York City Council approved the rezoning of the East River Fifties on November 30, 2017.
  • The new zoning requires buildings constructed in the East River Fifties to comply with “tower-on-a-base” requirements.
  • The megatower that Gamma Real Estate had planned to construct at the 430 E. 58th Street site would not comply with the new zoning. Since the foundation that Gamma had been constructing at that site was based on plans for a megatower which Gamma had filed with the DOB, the DOB issued a stop work order to halt construction of the building’s foundation.
  • Gamma obtained a partial lifting of the stop work order on the theory that additional work on the foundation was necessary to stabilize the site and thus prevent potential damage to the buildings on either side. That’s why residents of our neighborhood saw construction work taking place during December and January.
  • At this point, ALL construction at the site has been halted. Gamma will not be able to construct the megatower it had planned unless it receives approval to do from the Board of Standards and Appeals (“BSA”).
  • Gamma has submitted an appeal to the BSA to allow it to proceed with its planned construction.
  • ERFA has retained Michael Hiller, Esq., to oppose the BSA’s granting of such approval.
  • Mr. Hiller made a presentation at the Feb. 8th Town Hall explaining why he believes ERFA can win this fight and further emphasized that Gamma’s work on the foundation, occurring many weeks after the rezoning, will have no effect on the BSA decision.
  • The BSA will hold one or more hearings during the next few months. ERFA supporters will be encouraged to attend.
  • Timing: The BSA will most likely make a decision on Gamma’s appeal during or after the summer of 2018.
Notably, and in contrast to the nearly three previous years surrounding this re-zoning battle, the next few months are likely to be comparatively quiet.

That does not — and should not — suggest in any way that this battle is over.  On the contrary, we continue to work with our legal team on a daily basis and are in the process of building other associations and hiring experts that will provide us with the necessary insight and counsel to reach our goal.

We will inform you of any breaking news and will request your presence at all appropriate legal hearings that will benefit from your attendance. Stand by for those details in the coming weeks.

How can you help?
Our mission to finish this battle and truly “win the war” for contextual development in the East River Fifties continues to rely on your generosity. To persevere on behalf of the East River Fifties neighborhood, we hope we can depend on you to donate whatever you can. Please join the many who have given to this cause at the level that is most comfortable for you and reflects your commitment to the quality of life in this neighborhood.

And, if you’ve already given, please give again. Many of you have done just that — more than 60 individuals have given more than once to help us win this fight. That’s commitment! We hope you’ll join them and give generously.

Next ERFA meeting: March 8, 2018, Morso Restaurant, 8 am.

Many thanks for your support. We couldn’t have – and can’t – do it without you.

ERFA Leadership Committee
About ERFA
ERFA is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation which represents 45 member buildings, represented by co-op boards, condo boards and individual owners, and over 2700 individual supporters living in more than 550 buildings within and beyond the rezoning area.