Judge Orders Developers Of New York City Tower To Remove Upper Floors

A New York State Supreme Court judge has ordered the developers of the largest residential tower on the Upper West Side to remove several floors from the 52-story building that’s currently under construction to keep it within zoning regulations. 

The ruling comes after community groups challenged the developers of 200 Amsterdam. The groups — the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development (CFESD) and the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) — argue that the tower should never have been approved.

State Supreme Court Justice W. Franc Perry made the ruling last week, while the 668-foot-tall tower was still under construction. 

“We are very gratified that after a long fight, the gerrymandered zoning lot at 200 Amsterdam has been declared illegal. This groundbreaking decision averts a dangerous precedent that would have ultimately affected every corner of the city,” Elizabeth Goldstein, MAS president, said in a statement. “The directive to partially demolish the building is appropriate given the willingness of the developer to ignore every sign that their project was inappropriately scaled for the neighborhood and based on a radical and wildly inaccurate interpretation of the Zoning Resolution.”

The court had previously determined that the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) incorrectly interpreted zoning regulations to approve construction, and sent the decision back to the BSA.

The developer of the 112-unit luxury building, SJP Properties, said that last year the court clarified that it didn’t intend to recommend a solution and was now taking “an activist position” against the city and the builders. 

“This ruling is a shocking loss for New York City and its residents, SJP Properties said in a statement. “It defies more than 40 years of precedent in the city’s zoning laws. It also ignores the thoughtful decision of the (Department of Buildings) to grant the permit, which was upheld by the BSA following exhaustive document review and testimony over a two-year period. Both of those decisions recognized that retroactively applying new interpretations of the city’s zoning to previously approved projects undermines the stability of the regulatory environment needed to support the investment that is critical to New York City’s economy, tax base, housing stock and services. We will appeal this decision vigorously in court, and are confident that we, and the City, will prevail on the merits.”

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