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Elevator Installation Stalled Due to Kitchen Counter

It may not be one of the featured accoutrements when you are being shown apartments, but elevators are a great feature to have in your building, especially if you live up more than a few floors from the lobby. Besides being a helpful mobility option for the disabled and the elderly, residential elevators are extremely helpful when you are moving in, carrying groceries and performing other tasks that would be difficult to do when walking up stairs. Although most tenants would welcome an elevator in a building with none, one renter didn’t feel the same way.

According to the New York Daily News, an Irish immigrant who lives in Yorkville recently won a case that places more importance on counter space than on mobility options:

“The ruling means a disabled bartender who has lived in a dark, groundfloor Yorkville studio for 35 years — paying $288 a month — gets to keep his kitchen, while the rest of the tenants, including those in the $5,900 fifth-floor penthouse, have to keep climbing stairs. For three years, [John] Burke has been fighting his landlord’s plan to put an elevator in the five-story walkup.”

The article says that the Division of Housing and Community Renewal put a stop on the planned installation because it would reduce Burke’s apartment and backyard space by almost 20%. This story took an unexpected turn when Burke was offered a deal by his landlords. When he declined their offer, things got nasty:

“… he was willing to accommodate his landlords, Ben and John Obe Shalomo, in 2009, when they offered to put him in another apartment…and then reduce his rent…Burke packed his belongings into two tall rows of boxes lined up through the middle of his room. In the interim, he said, the landlord extended the rear of the building into his yard and filled the apartments above him. The new outside wall blocks light and air, he said.”

What do you think – should the elevator project be allowed?

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