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Developer seeks zoning variance for Ridgewood artist studios

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

The owner of a Ridgewood lot is seeking Community Board 5’s (CB 5) support of a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to build a new two-story building at the location.

The site located at 1677 George St. sits in an M1-4D manufacturing zone, with an R5B residential district directly across the street. The zoning regulation requires a 20-foot front yard space to act as a buffer between any manufacturing buildings and the residential zoning area.

This variance looks to waive the required 20-foot front yard restriction and allow the owner, George Acquisition LLC, to build up to the front lot line.

“The applicant, who is the owner of the site, she is also an artist and she is proposing to develop the site with a two-story building to use for artist studios, three artist studios — two on the ground floor and one on the second floor — a caretaker’s unit on the second floor and on the ground floor, a 395-square-foot small café,” said Frank St. Jacques, from the Office of Sheldon Lobel, PC.

The 20-foot front yard space hinders the owner’s ability to build since the lot itself is extremely small, only 46 feet deep.

“The 20-foot front yard requirement on a site so small and shallow would essentially cut the property in half in terms of usable space,” St. Jacques said.

Currently a one-story building “that’s in a state of severe disrepair” sits on the site, St. Jacques told the board. If the variance is approved, that building would be demolished to make room for the new development, which would be built out to the front lot line.

“The proposed development — the two-story development — would not have that 20-foot front yard and it would be in line with the existing character of George Street,” St. Jacques said. “We feel that this variance application is reasonable [and] would be within the neighborhood character.”

The proposal will be turned over to CB 5’s Land Use Committee meeting before being put forth to the full board for a vote.

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