excerpted from The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2010
A Manhattan townhouse owner is being forced to do something few, if any, New York homeowners have ever done before: tear down a top-floor addition to a building to comply with city landmark regulations.
The Landmark Preservation Commission decided in March that a sixth-floor addition to the building at 12-13 West 68th St. was in violation of landmark rules. The building’s owner has begun taking steps to remove the entire floor, according to a commission official.
How that new floor ever got approved and constructed in the first place is just one of the many disputes surrounding this $10 million property that is causing a ruckus on the West Side by the neighborhood’s preservation advocates.
The demolition of the townhouse’s sixth-floor addition could be the first time the city forced a building owner to destroy part of the property for what amounts primarily to aesthetic considerations.