Volume 18 • Issue 11 | August 5 - 11, 2005

Tribecans appeal city’s Decision on diesel fuel

By Ronda Kaysen

Tribeca residents fuming about the city’s call to legalize diesel fuel stored in a nearby building have taken their grievances to another city agency in hopes the decision will be overturned.

The 60 Hudson St. building, between Worth and Thomas Sts., stores generators and cooling equipment for its telecommunications tenants along with upwards of 80,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which critics maintain make the building a potential terrorist target in this densely populated residential neighborhood.

A few blocks south of the Art Deco structure, 7 World Trade Center stored half as much diesel fuel when it caught fire on Sept. 11, 2001. Fed with diesel, an uncontrollable blaze brought the building down.

In June, the city’s Department of Buildings granted 60 Hudson St.’s owners, GVA Williams, a variance for the 6,400 gallons currently stored illegally above ground. The bulk of the fuel is stored in a subterranean level and not subject to the city’s building code.

Last week, a coalition of residents called Neighbors against N.O.I.S.E. filed an appeal with the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals. The board has the jurisdiction to overrule a Buildings Dept. decision.

“This was a precipitous action by the Dept. of Buildings that really did not consider the entirety of what’s in the building,” said Tim Lannan, president of N.O.I.S.E. “So long as they continue to focus on the six floors they miss the opportunity to consider changes that would make the entire building safer.” The June 29 variance addressed fuel stored on six of the buildings 25 stories.

Residents are appealing the variance on the grounds that a building of this type has no place in a residential neighborhood, the variance was granted on a landmark building without consulting the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the decision poses a danger to the neighborhood and the hardship that instigated the variance was “self created” by the owners, Norman Siegel, an attorney for the residents, said. A hearing date for the appeal will be set once B.S.A. reviews the appeal.

“We stand by our decision to grant the variance,” said Jennifer Givner, a spokesperson for the Buildings Dept. “We’ll use the opportunity of a [B.S.A.] hearing to explain our rationale behind our determination.”

Representatives for GVA Williams did not return calls for comment.



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