From New York World:
The board that makes exceptions to New York City’s zoning code on behalf of property owners ruled in favor of 97 percent of those applications in the past year — in many cases over the objections of local community boards.
Alex Camarda, director of advocacy and public policy for the government reform group Citizens Union, told the City Council Committee on Governmental Operations during a hearing last Friday that community boards from Queens and Staten Island were the likeliest to object to proposals. They were also the likeliest to have those “no” votes disregarded by the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA).
Most frequently, property owners sought the BSA variances to expand one- or two-family homes into larger structures or add commercial spaces in residential areas.
Under the City Charter, community boards have an advisory vote on all variances, which seek to build structures that would otherwise be too large or otherwise incompatible with local zoning. Applicants for the variances must prove that zoning imposes a hardship.
In Queens, community boards recommended against nine proposed variances between May 2011 and April 2012, out of 28 applications. The Board of Standards and Appeals approved all of the variances despite the recommendation.
Staten Island community boards recommended disapproval in another nine instances, out of 23 variance requests, and like the Queens boards saw BSA vote in favor of the variances.
Photo from NY Shitty