Gowanus playhouse-nightclub likely to get OK despite protests

Department of Buildings upholds zoning variance; standards board vote pending

Rendering of 280 Bond Street in Brooklyn
Rendering of 280 Bond Street in Brooklyn

The Department of Buildings’ decision to uphold the “non-conforming use” zoning status for the proposed Rock and Roll Playhouse — a part-children’s music school, part-bar in Gowanus — would allow it to open despite opposition from residents. The Board of Standards and Appeals is continuing to review the matter, however, and will make the final decision. 

The agency said this legal exception would make way for the structure to be built and operate at 280 Bond Street, within a residential district. Developer Peter Shapiro’s plans call for a music school by day and a venue for adults by night.

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“[T]he Department has determined that [We Are Gowanus] has not submitted sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the non-conforming use has discontinued for a continuous period of two years or more,” the Department of Buildings said in a letter to the Board of Standards and Appeals. The next BSA hearing is set for May 20.

Last year, local nonprofit We Are Gowanus sued the Department of Buildings, saying the city agency failed to investigate the venue before granting it a building permit. The group claims the project was always just a nightclub masquerading as a “playhouse.” [DNAinfo]Mark Maurer