Upper West Side Synagogue’s Condo Plan Rejected by Community Board
Congregation Shearith Israel wants to build a nine-story community center with five condos on the top stories directly behind its synagogue on West 70th Street.View Full Caption
UPPER WEST SIDE — A synagogue seeking approval for a controversial plan to build a community center and condos behind the house of worship had its designs rejected by Community Board 7 Tuesday, an action the city will take into account in deciding whether to grant approval to the project.
Congregation Shearith Israel is seeking approval for alterations to the interior design of its proposed 9-story building, which will include community space and five luxury condos, directly behind the synagogue at 8 W. 70th St.
The new plans need the green light from the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), a city agency that oversees real estate development, before the project can move forward. But the congregation’s presentation on Tuesday created too many questions for board members to sign off on the plan.
n Aug. 12, the BSA sent Congregation Shearith Israel a list of 40 questions to respond to regarding its plans before any decision is made, according to an email the BSA shared with DNAinfo and as previously reported by West Side Rag.
The congregation has not yet sent its responses to the BSA, a lawyer representing Shearith Israel, Zachary Bernstein, told board members Tuesday.
CB 7 member Paige Crowley argued at the meeting that “it’s premature to take an action until we have this information at our fingertips. Right now it’s he said-she said.”
Given the lack of information, the full board voted to reject the project, a decision the congregation is “disappointed by,” Bernstein said Wednesday.
“Responses to the BSA’s request will be filed shortly and the Community Board will simultaneously receive these responses. We look forward to addressing any further questions during the BSA hearing process and are hopeful that the synagogue will receive the approvals needed to allow for development of its Community House,” he added.