BAM Fisher Building
The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) applied on June 25, 2009 to the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) for a variance to waive the rear yard requirements (Zoning Resolution Section 33-26) to permit construction of a seven-story addition to the rear of the building at 321 Ashland Place. Pursuant to a vote at its June 10, 2009 meeting, Community Board 2 empowered the Executive Committee to act as a committee-of-the-whole during the 2009 summer recess.
The plan for the building, named for Richard B. Fisher, are to centralize BAM's educational and community programming in one location. The building will also contain a 252-seat theater and accessory facilities. The community board's Land Use Committee had reviewed an earlier design of the building in August 2008 and voted unanimously in support, in concept. The committee voted unanimously in April 2009 to recommend approval of BAM's application to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
See the presentation to the Land Use Committee (PDF)
The Executive Committee held a public hearing on the BSA application on July 27, 2009. Council Member Letitia James; BAM board member Danny Simmons; Jana La Sorte, executive director of Urban Bush Women; Pastor Conway Boyce of Brooklyn Covenant Ministries; and Ben Grossman, an owner of the Smoke Joint restaurant, spoke in favor of the application. Jeffrey Tannenbaum expressed concern about the impact the enlarged building might have on the adjacent Brooklyn Music School, of which he is a board member. A resident of St. Felix Street reiterated those concerns, noting past structural problems in buildings on that street.
Following discussion of how BAM can accomodate and protect the Brooklyn Music School, the Executive Committee voted unanimously to recommend approval of the application. The BSA approved the application on September 15, 2009.