Construction is underway on a 52-story apartment tower replacing the former Lincoln Square Synagogue on 69th and Amsterdam. But two groups have now filed separate appeals with a city board looking to stop the project, which would be the tallest building in the area at 668 feet.
Council member Helen Rosenthal has joined with the community group Committee for Environmentally Sound Development to file one of the appeals, claiming that the zoning lot that allows the building to be so tall should not be allowed.
“The appeal, submitted to the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), argues that the proposed building’s zoning lot does not actually meet the definition of a zoning lot,” according to a statement from Rosenthal’s office. “The gerrymandered lot includes portions of several tax lots, combining the lot at 200 Amsterdam with all or parts of five tax lots from various Lincoln Towers buildings on West End Avenue.
“This is contrary, the appeal claims, to Zoning Resolution provisions which require that zoning lots comprise the entirety of one or more tax lots. Click here to read the appeal.” The challenge questions whether the developer adhered to open space requirements, among other factors.
“The only way for SJP Properties to justify such a clearly disproportionate supertall in a residential neighborhood is to violate both the spirit and letter of the zoning laws, specifically those defining zoning lots and open space,” said Olive Freud, President of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development.
Landmark West has filed its own challenge on similar grounds.
Freud expressed dismay that Landmark West was filing separately, splitting the opposition. “It’s bad enough I have to fight the developers! I thought we were collaborating.” Sean Khorsandi of Landmark West wrote that its appeal “does not conflict with the appeal filed by the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, but rather continues the chorus of arguments against the development. The professionals involved are working together.”
This isn’t the first time that groups have fought this building. A previous appeal to the Buildings Department slowed the project, but eventually didn’t stop it. The developers, SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America, have repeatedly asserted that the zoning lot is appropriate and that the building will benefit the neighborhood.