Coffee Talk: Navigating the Board of Standards and Appeals
With Christopher Collins, BSA Vice Chair
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In New York City, one body has the power to grant exceptions to certain local building laws and regulations on a case-by-case basis: the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA). Once granted, such special permissions, known as variances, provide building owners and developers with legal, alternative approaches to the city’s Zoning Resolution, Building and Fire Codes, Multiple Dwelling Law, and Labor Law. The BSA also hears appeals made by property owners, community groups, elected officials and the like who believe a given commissioner or agency head has issued a ruling that is illegal.
Comprised of five mayoral-appointed commissioners, the BSA is considered to be one of the most obscure but powerful bodies in city government. Yet many neighborhood advocates who have opposed or closely monitored construction projects in their neighborhoods have had to appeal to the BSA at one time or another. BSA Vice-Chair Christopher Collins will explain the basic steps of presenting to the Board, from how to navigate their procedures and requirements to the most effective approach to formulating arguments.