Category: Uncategorized


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.

Special ERFA Town Hall — April 5 @ Morso

By Team ERFA,

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
 
CALLING ALL 

EAST RIVER FIFTIES ALLIANCE MEMBERS

WE NEED YOUR VOICES

SPECIAL ERFA TOWN HALL

WHEN: Thursday morning, APRIL 5TH, 8 AM

WHERE: Morso Restaurant @ 420 East 59th Street
WHAT: This essential meeting will dive into the details of the upcoming BSA hearing scheduled for the 10th of April and YOUR critical participation.
WHY:  The developer of the 58th Street construction site has applied to the BSA to be “grandfathered” under the old zoning. If the BSA approves the application, the developer would have permission to construct the megatower. It is critical for us to show the BSA that the community objects to granting the approval.
SPECIAL SCHEDULING NOTES FOR APRIL 10TH:
Hearing at the Board of Standards & Appeals re:  Sutton 58 Building Permit Renewal Application
22 Reade Street
10 April 2018

9:30 AM

Seating is Limited

All supportive ERFA attendees shall be heard.

Bus transportation c/o ERFA will be provided on a first come, first served basis leaving at 8:15 AM on the morning of April 10th, sharp.

Please consider lending your seat to the elderly or disabled and consider public transportation.

Unable to attend?: 

Please send a letter to Chairman Margery Perlmutter of the Board of Standards & Appeals that states your belief that they must NOTmake an exception for the East 58th Street megatower known as “Sutton 58,” or 430 East 58th Street. The new, legislated, and protective zoning was voted on and intended for the whole of this neighborhood and community without deviation.

Address it to: 

Hon. Margery Perlmutter, Chair
NYC Board of Standards and Appeals
250 Broadway, 29th floor
New York, NY 10007

Update From ERFA President, Alan Kersh

By Team ERFA,

As you know, ERFA was successful in its years-long effort to secure rezoning for this neighborhood to protect it from out-of-scale development.  As we reported in early December, despite this victory we believed that Gamma Real Estate would continue its efforts to develop the 58th Street site (at 430 East 58th) according to its original plans with an appeal to the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA).  That is exactly what is happening.

I’m writing to tell you that the fight is not over, to brief you on what ERFA is doing, and how you can help.

 

Status update

When the zoning law was changed on November 30th, the 430 East 58th Street site came under that new law.  Gamma Real Estate’s construction permit automatically lapsed because the building plan that Gamma had submitted to the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) for approval did not comport with the new zoning. Accordingly, the DOB immediately issued a Stop Work Order (SWO) for construction at that site. The net result:  the new applicable law means that Gamma could not move forward with construction of the supertall tower it had planned unless and until it receives approval from the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA).

ERFA has learned that Gamma has filed an appeal with BSA. Because Gamma had commenced construction of the building’s foundation before the new zoning law was adopted, it is eligible to seek “grandfather” status for the project – i.e., the right to construct a building in accordance with the plans it submitted to DOB before the zoning change.  While we do not yet know the details of Gamma’s presentation, we are aware that in considering such applications for grandfathering one of the main factors BSA considers is whether “substantial progress” was made on the foundation prior to the zoning change.  ERFA expects that the amount of work that was done on the foundation prior to November 30th (not after that date) will be an important focus for BSA.

ERFA was surprised to learn last week that despite the zoning change the DOB has partially rescinded its SWO and has given Gamma permission to perform additional work on the 58th Street building’s foundation.  In response to questions, DOB explained to Councilmember Ben Kallos that the additional work was authorized in order to stabilize the buildings next to the construction site, but that the new foundation work was unlikely to help Gamma with its BSA appeal.

Gamma’s BSA appeal has just begun and is at a very early stage. In evaluating requests for grandfathering, BSA generally requires a great deal of information to be provided by the applicant and conducts public hearings before making a decision.  ERFA will be a very strong voice for this neighborhood in opposition to BSA approval of Gamma’s request.

 

What ERFA is doing

Construction Site: ERFA continues to question DOB why/how the new work can be justified.  DOB has said that its expects the stabilization work to take four weeks. The four-week projected timeframe seems inconsistent with public statements that Jonathan Kalikow, representing Gamma, made at the time the zoning was changed.

ERFA’s consulting engineer has viewed the site, and ERFA continues to monitor and document construction efforts. If you have pictures, please send them to info@ERFA.nyc.  Please make sure that we have the date and time of the photograph, as well as the location the photograph was taken.  These photos will help us to demonstrate the amount of work that was done on the foundation after November 30th.

BSA Appeal:  ERFA is not giving up and will fight Gamma as it goes through the process of seeking grandfather status for its construction project on East 58th Street. To that end, ERFA has hired a new legal team which specializes in BSA appeals.  At this point, the time estimate for the process is believed to be four to six months.

 

What You Can Do

ERFA will schedule a Town Hall in January to update everyone on where we are.  Come and show your continued support to fight this fight. We can also come to your building if you are interested in gathering with your neighbors.  Inquiries should go to info@erfa.nyc. We will send a notice out shortly with the date, time and location.  Stay tuned.

Keeping this fight going will take resources.  ERFA needs your financial support and will be embarking on a new fundraising campaign in the new year.  You can make a contribution, however, at any time. To donate now, please click here.

This fight can be successful only if we have your support. You’ve helped the community get this far; we need you again and to the end.

If you are affected by the continued construction on East 58th Street, contact DOB if you feel the work is outside of the permit – e.g. after hours, unsafe conditions, etc.  As always, we do not encourage spurious complaints. Use the online form or call 311.  If you call 311, please get a complaint number and send it to info@erfa.nyc.

As we approach the end of this year, and look to 2018 and to a successful end to this long hard-fought battle, we thank all of our friends across the city and neighbors closer to home for joining us in ensuring the quality of life in this neighborhood.

We knew this would be a long and hard fight.  And, we knew that if we stuck together, we would prevail.  We are – and we will.  Stay with us.  Support ERFA today.

With best wishes for the new year,

 

Alan Kersh

President, East River Fifties Alliance