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Mormon Church variance follow up letter

Mormon Church variance follow up letter

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Published by queenscrapper
Letter from the attorneys of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in response to concerns of the Board of Standards and Appeals, elected officials and community members.
Letter from the attorneys of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in response to concerns of the Board of Standards and Appeals, elected officials and community members.

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: queenscrapper on May 30, 2012
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05/30/2012

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MICHAELH.SAHNJONA.WARDCHRISJ.COSCHIGNANO"DANIELJ.BAKERMIRIAME.VILLANIWAYNEG.EDWARDSBRIANS_STOLARANDREWM,ROTH
SAHNWARDCOSCHIGNANO
&
BAKER,PLLC
.ATTORNEYSATLAWTHEOMNI333EARLEOVINGTONBOULEVARDSUITE601UN10NDALE,NEWYORK11553
RECEIVED
MAY23
2012
THOMASMcKEVITT'
TELEPHONE:(516)
228-1300
TELECOPIER:(S16)
228-0038
E-MAIL:INFO@SWCBLAW.COMWWW.SWCBLAW.COM
COUNSEL
DANIELH.BRAFFRALPHBRANCIFORTEJOHNP.CHRISTOPHERELAINEM.COLAVITOJOHNC.FARRELLJASONHOROWITZJASON
L.
KAPLAN"ADAMH.KOBLENZ'"ERIKZARATIN"
fILECOpy
OFCOUNSELJOSEPHB.ROSENBERG
'AdmittedinNewYork,NewJersey,DistrictofColumbia"AdmittedinNewYork,Connecticut••AdmittedinNewYork,NewJersey
May18,2012VIAHANDDELIVERYRe:BZApplication#174-11-BZ145-1533
rd
Avenue,Queens,NewYorkHonorableChairMeenakshiSrinivasanandCommissionersCityofNewYorkBoardofStandardsandAppeals40RectorStreet,9thFloorNewYork,NY10006DearHonorableChairSrinivasanandCommissioners:OurfinnrepresentsCorporationofthePresidingBishopofTheChurchofJesusChristofLatter-daySaints(herein,the"Church"),whichownstheabove-referencedproperty(the"Property").Asyouareaware,theChurchhassubmittedanapplicationforvariancesfromtheNYCBoardofStandardsandAppeals(the"Board")topermittheconstructionofanewhouseofworship(the"Chapel")attheProperty.TheBoardheldapublichearingontheapplicationonApril24,2012,duringwhichtheBoardmadecommentswithrespecttotheapplication.WearepleasedtoofferthefollowinginformationandmaterialsinresponsetotheBoard'scomments.1.ObstructioninSideYardsandRearYardEliminatedTheBoardraisedconcernsrelatingtothevariancefromZoningResolution("ZR")Section24-33toallowforthelandscapeddeckinthesideyardsandrearyardtoexceedthebaseplaneattheProperty.InresponsetotheBoard'sconcerns,wearepleasedtosubmitforthisBoard'sreviewandconsideration,analternativeproposedconditionsplan("AlternativePlan"),datedMay17,2012,andpreparedbyF.Fernandez,AlA,LLC,thearchitectfortheproject.
1011-002Latter-daySaints
 
SAHNWARD
COSCHIGNANO
&
BAKER,PLLC
HonorableChairSrinivasanandCommissionersMay18,2012Page2TheAlternativePlancompletely
eliminates
theobstructioninthesideyardsandrearyardwhilemaintainingtheFAR,footprintandinternallayoutnecessaryfortheChurchtomeetitsprogrammaticneeds.Inessence,thearchitecteliminatedthisvariancebyseparatingthedeckstructureinthesideyardsandrearyardfromthechapelstructure,reducingthethicknessofthedeckstructureinthesideyardsandrearyardbyapproximatelytwo(2)feet(resultinginatotalthicknessofbetween9"and12"),andloweringtheelevationofthebaseofthedeckstructureinthesideyardsandrearyardbyapproximatelyonefoot.Thesechangesbringtheelevationofthelandscapeddeckinthesideyardsandrearyarddowntothebaseplaneelevation,completelyeliminatingtheobstructioninthesideyardsandrearyard.Themodificationsrequiredmanipulatingthelayoutandflowofvehicleswithinthebelow-gradegarage.UndertheAlternativePlan,thegarageceilingnowhasaminimumclearanceof
1'-0"
belowthedeckintherearyardand
1'-3"
belowthedeckinthesideyardsforregularvehicles,andaminimumclearanceof8'-2"belowtheChapelstructureforhandicapvanaccess,asrequired.Inotherwords,thebelow-gradegaragewillhavedifferentceilingheights:7'-0"to
1'-3"
underthedeckintherearyardandsideyards,and8'-2"undertheChapel.Signagewillbeprovidedwithinthegaragetodirecthandicapvehicletraffictothoseareaswithinthegaragethatmaintainthe8'-2"clearance.Duetothemodifiedlayoutwithinthegarage,oneparkingspacehasbeeneliminatedundertheAlternativePlan.TheChurchiswillingtoaccepttheAlternativePlanasalesser-variancealternativetotheProposedConditionsPlan,lastrevisedonMarch15,2012,andpreviouslyfiledwiththeBoard,shouldtheBoardsodesire.TheAlternativePlanachievestheBoard'smandateofminimizingvariances,whilepreservingtheChurch'sprogrammaticneeds.Nonetheless,wenotethatthismodifieddesignwillbemorecomplex,labor-intensiveandexpensivefortheChurchtoimplement.First,sincethedeckinthesideyardsandrearyardwillhaveadifferentelevationthanthefirstfloorleveloftheChapel,thedeckwillrequireadditionalsteelaroundtheperimeteroftheChapeltosupportthedeckatalowerelevation.Second,inordertoprovideathinnerdeck,thedeckmustnowconsistofreinforcedconcreteslabofbetween9"and12",whichisheavierandmoreexpensivethanwhatwasoriginallyproposed,andwilltakelongertoconstruct.'Infact,thismodifieddesignrequiresfour(4)additionalsupportingcolumns.2.ReducedBulkWhiletheproposedChapelgenerallycompliedwithallheight,setbackandlotcoveragerequirements,Boardmembersandopponentsexpressedconcemaboutthebulkofthebuilding.Inparticular,theBoardcommentedthattheChapelappearslargerfromthestreetduetotheelevateddeck.Inresponsetotheseconcerns,notonlydidtheChurchlowertheelevationofthedeckinthesideyardsandrearyardandeliminatetheobstruction,theChurchhasalsoreducedtheheightoftheparapetsatthestreetwalloftheChapelintheAlternativePlan.Thischangeresultsinanetreductionintheelevationofthesteeplebaseandthetopofthesteeplebythree
I
Theoriginaldeckconsistedofsteelstructuralframing,metaldeckandconcreteonthedeck.
1017-002Latter-daySaints
 
SAHNWARDCOSCHIGNANO
&
BAKER,PLLC
HonorableChairSrinivasanandCommissionersMay18,2012Page3(3)feet.Furthermore,inordertobreakuptheappearanceofbulkfromthestreet,theAlternativePlanalsoincludesfullylandscapedterracinginthefrontyardinfrontofthedeck(insteadofadecorativebrickwall),whichwillbeplantedwithtrees,grassesandshrubs.SeeLandscapePlansubmittedherewith.ThislandscapedterracingcreatesamoregradualinclinefromthestreetupontotheremainderoftheProperty,whichismoreconsistentwithotherpropertiesinthesurroundingneighborhood?Finally,aminordesignmodificationtothestairbulkheadontheroofresultsinamodestreductionintheFARundertheAlternativePlanfrom0.879to0.877.3.PrivacyofAdjoiningPropertiesTheBoardraisedconcernsabouttheprivacyofadjoiningpropertiesduetothefactthatthedeckwaselevatedabovethebaseplaneandapersonwalkinginthesideyardsoftheChapelcouldpotentiallybelookingintothesecondfloorwindowsoftheadjoininghouses.ThisconcernhasbeenamelioratedbytheloweringofthedeckinthesideyardsandrearyardtothebaseplaneelevationintheAlternativePlan.DespitethefactthatthedeckhasbeenloweredintheAlternativePlan,inresponsetotherequestbytheBoard,theAlternativePlanincludes"close-up"elevationsandcross-sectionstoshowthedeckheightcomparedtotheelevationsoftheadjoininggradelevels.SeeSheets
A-12],
A-I22andA-123.UndertheAlternativePlan,thetopofthedeckwillnowbeonlyslightlyabovetheadjoininggradeleveltothewest,andwillactuallybebelowtheadjoininggradeleveltotheeast.Moreover,decorativemetalgateswillbeprovidedatthefrontofeachsideyardtopreventunnecessaryaccess,andplantedshrubheightsinthesideyardshavebeenincreasedfrom2feetto3feettoprovideadditionalprivacy.4.ClarificationRegardingEXlstingLandUseofAdjoiningPropertytotheEastTheBoardquestionedwhytheadjoiningpropertytotheeast,knownas145-2733
rd'
Avenue,waslistedasinstitutionalontheRadiusDiagram/LandUseMap.CityrecordslisttheownerofthepropertyasThePeaceTimesWeekly,Inc.,anot-for-profitcorporation,whichiswhyitwaslistedasinstitutionalontheRadiusDiagram/LandUseMap.However,additionalresearchhasrevealedthatdespitethefactthatthepropertyisownedbyanot-for-profitcorporationandatonetimemayhavebeenusedasofficesforthecorporation,itappearsthatitisnowbeingusedasasingle-familydwelling.Accordingly,submittedherewithisanupdatedRadiusDiagram/LandUseMapwith145-273ydAvenueshownasresidential.5.SanfordAvenuePropertySurveyAsindicatedintheRevisedStatementofFactsandFindings,datedMarch26,2012,andpursuanttothecaselawreferencedtherein,considerationofalternativepropertieswheretheChurch"should"builditsnewchapel,includingthetemporarySanfordAvenueproperty,isentirelyirrelevanttoBoard'sreviewofthesubjectapplication.Nevertheless,aswenotedintheRevisedStatementofFactsandFindings,redevelopmentoftheSanfordAvenuepropertyisnota
2
Theterracingalsoreducesthesizeofthecellarlevelatthesouthwestandsoutheastcomersofthesite
by
392SF.
JDI7-002Latter-day
Saints

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