Boerum Hill residents bewildered, furious that NYC taxes them to sit on their stoops

Hamlin Ventures, Time Equities cut deal that allows city to tax townhouse staircases,
homeowners say
January 23, 2017 08:11AM

Abby Hamlin and Francis Greenburger with the State Street townhouses in Boerum Hill

The city and a pair of developers who built a row of Brooklyn townhouses have stooped to a new low, residents in Boerum Hill claim.

Hamlin Ventures and Time Equities cut a side deal with officials that allows the city to tax nearly three dozen homeowners more $1,000 a year to use the steps leading up to their stately homes.

“It’s one of those weird, bureaucratic things that doesn’t make sense,’’ homeowner Luke Gunnell, 50, who forks over $1,154 a year for his stoop, told the New York Post.

When Hamlin and Time built a row of 34 townhouses on State Street between Hoyt and Smith streets in 2005, they struck an agreement with the city that extended the homes’ stairways 6 feet and 3 inches past the property line and onto the city-owned sidewalk, residents say.

And the buyers, who paid as much as $2.4 million for their homes starting in 2008, are left paying the special annual tax each year. The special “revocable consent agreement” also means the city can demolish the staircases at any time.

“It is inconceivable,’’ said attorney Jack Lester, who sued the city on behalf of the residents in 2015.

Roughly half of the homeowners admit they were aware of the agreement, and others said they didn’t learn until 2015 when they received notice they’d have to pay an “administrative fee” of more than $1,000.

The city’s lawyers argued that the homeowners were aware of the deal at the time of purchase, and last week a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled in favor of the city. [NYP]Rich Bockmann