Bay Ridge Prep high school plans to be reviewed by local panel

Community Board 10’s Zoning and Land Use Committee will meet on Tuesday, September 6 to discuss a special permit that would allow Bay Ridge Prep – a co-ed, K-12 college preparatory school in the neighborhood – to go ahead with plans to build a six-story, 49,594-square-foot facility at 429 89th Street.

The board’s recommendation (which is advisory only) will be submitted to the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), which will ultimately decide whether the school can get the zoning relief it is asking for.

Specifically, Bay Ridge Prep needs a waiver of existing zoning to build a school in a heavily commercial/manufacturing zoning district (C8-2, currently occupied by many car dealerships and related facilities) where housing cannot be constructed as of right. Generally, schools can be built anywhere housing is allowed.

In addition, Bay Ridge Prep’s plans call for a building that is considerably denser than what would be allowed as of right, to accommodate its needs, which exceed what would be permitted by the as-of-right floor area ratio (FAR) of 2.0, a measurement that reflects the ratio between the total floor area of the building and the square footage of the lot on which it is built. According to Bay Ridge Prep, the additional floor area requested is 10,000 square feet.

The school, established in 1998 by co-founders Dr. Charles Fasano and Dr. Michael Dealy, began with a student body of just 35. Today, the school boasts an impressive 400 students, but, according to Fasano, both its home-base at 8101 Ridge Boulevard and its second-coming at 7420 Fourth Avenue were quick to outgrow themselves.

“We currently have five different facilities that are servicing our high school,” he told this paper in April. “We’ve outgrown the building that we’re in, and we’ve tried to compensate for that by taking on other spaces but, in the meantime, we’ve been looking for a home that we can consolidate into.

“We had an opportunity with some land that became available in Bay Ridge, and we’ve done a feasibility study for the last year and a half,” Fasano went on, “and it looks like this is something that is doable for us.”

Pending approval from the community board (and ultimately, the city), the space – which will house over two dozen classrooms, a 200-seat theater, a full-size gymnasium, science labs, a fitness room, two squash courts and dedicated space for music, dance and the visual arts, and more – will become the sole building for Bay Ridge Prep’s upper grades.

The lower grades, Fasano said, will continue to learn out of Bay Ridge Prep’s Ridge Boulevard building, though all other leases and rental agreements will be terminated with those funds currently going towards rent pouring back into the new project.

Initial plans for the facility – which will also include a rooftop terrace featuring a garden and additional green space – were filed with the New York City Department of Buildings in March of this year, with a goal of opening the new building by September, 2018.

The Zoning Committee meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the board’s district office, located at 8119 Fifth Avenue.

The full board will vote on the application at its September 19 general meeting, to be held at Shore Hill, 9000 Shore Road, at 7:15 p.m.

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