A neighborhood coalition is suing to stop a “monstrous” 11-story building from rising above a church on its block, saying the city may have improperly approved the developer's plan to nearly double the project's height despite its own concerns.
After the French Evangelical Church on West 16th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, sold its air rights and an adjacent church building to Einhorn Development Group several years ago, the developer announced plans to construct an 11-story condominium above the house of worship.
A neighborhood group called the Save 16th Street Committee has been fighting Einhorn’s plans ever since, said member Paul Groncki, president of the 100 West 16th Street Block Association, who lives in the six-story co-op next to the site.
On Friday, the committee filed a petition in Manhattan Supreme Court asking the city’s Department of Buildings to hand over documents they believe could prove Einhorn’s plans violate city statutes and codes, or show that the department improperly approved the project.
Einhorn had originally filed plans to construct a six-story building at the site, but added five additional stories to its plans by filing a “post-approval amendment” with the DOB, the committee’s petition says. The DOB issued a permit for the project this past October, records show, and construction started soon after.
In June 2015, the committee asked the DOB for copies of architectural plans, application forms and other documents related to the post-approval amendment, but wasn’t able to get them, according to the group’s filing.
The committee and its representatives have since submitted several Freedom of Information Law requests seeking those and other materials — none of which have yielded results, the petition says.