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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

1095 Avenue of the Americas, application to amend an existing variance

WHEREAS, 1095 Avenue of the Americas is a) located on the western blockfront of Sixth Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets, b) has recently undergone a renovation, c) is located in the Theater Subdistrict of the Midtown Special District, d) is 664 feet high and e) is directly south of the new, taller, Bank of America building; and

WHEREAS, In 1975 the Board of Standards and Appeals granted a variance to install two illuminated signs displaying the name of the then anchor tenant, New York Telephone Company, at the level of the roof of the building; subsequently the Board allowed the signs to be altered to be non-illuminated and to reflect the changing name of the tenant and, in 2001, granted a modification to allow a Verizon sign to be illuminated; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant is now the anchor tenant of the building and, recognizing that the sign that had been on the north façade is blocked from street level visibility by the Bank of America building, has applied for a modification of the variance to relocate the sign to the eastern façade; and

WHEREAS, The proposed sign would be a) comprised of illuminated letters, b) set back 40' from the roof line and c) the same size as the former north-facing sign, 10'7"; high by 50' long; and

WHEREAS, The proposed sign would a) be visible from the north side of 42nd Street beginning at Fifth Avenue and continuing for about two blocks east, and b) would not be visible from any point in Bryant Park, although some reflected or ambient light might be visible; and

Whereas, the Applicant has replaced the sigh on the south-facing façade with a new illuminate sign; and

WHEREAS, Although the size and design of the proposed sign was not considered unreasonable, no major public benefit to allowing the modification was determined, and the Land Use and Zoning Committee noted that the standards for issuance of a variance are different from those in effect when this variance was granted, and that, although a variance for the proposed sign might have been approved in 1975, a new variance today would probably not be approved; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends denial of the application for modification of the existing variance to permit the relocation of an illuminated sign from the north to the east façade of 1095 Avenue of the Americas.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 21 in favor, 14 opposed, 1 abstaining.

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