Posted on March 2nd, 2021 @ 5:44 pm by Carol Tannenhauser
The entrance to 200 Amsterdam Avenue, for about a month. Photos by Stephen Harmon.
By Carol Tannenhauser
A New York State appeals court ruled in favor of the developers of 200 Amsterdam, the 51-story tower that a judge previously claimed had abused zoning laws and may have to remove up to 20 stories.
The verdict secures 200 Amsterdam’s position as the tallest building on the Upper West Side.
The four-judge panel unanimously ruled that the BSA (Board of Standards and Appeals) had “rationalized” the zoning laws by allowing developers to use partial taxable land for the composition of the building’s zoning, which determines the allowable height.
“Today’s unanimous decision is an unequivocal confirmation that the 200 Amsterdam zoning resolution permit was legitimately granted. We thank the City of New York for their support in the appointment and throughout the development process, ”said Steven J. Pozycki, Chairman and CEO of SJP Properties, which jointly developed the property with Mitsui Fudosan America.
The building had reached its full height long before the verdict as the contractors never stopped building through a lengthy process that began in 2017 when community activist Olive Freud first saw the plans for 200 Amsterdam and hired urban planner George Janes to see if it was them We are legal. Since then there have been a number of suits and counter-suits, motions and appeals, with the winning side constantly changing.
The two nonprofits that fought the developers – the Green Development Committee (CFESD), which is Freud’s organization, and the Municipal Art Society (MAS) – expressed disappointment and outrage at the decision. They contested a second court ruling that “this proceeding is at issue because the building is essentially complete and the petitioners … failed to exercise continued diligence to halt the project by not seeking injunctive relief at every stage of this lengthy litigation have asserted “.
“Absurd and unreasonable,” replied CFESD and MAS in bold letters in a joint statement. “During a three year litigation like this, filing an injunction would cost plaintiffs hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs every step of the way. Beyond the subject of partial tax lots and the dangerous precedent of this project, we are deeply concerned about what this decision will mean for any community group or nonprofit that seeks to hold predatory developers accountable for the law. “
So is it over? CFESD and MAS don’t say for sure. “The tactic used to create 200 Amsterdam is unprecedented, but it will become all too common if this decision persists. We are currently reviewing our next steps, including possible action, in the New York State Court of Appeals. “