School settles window suit

With the help of State Supreme Court Justice Diane Lebedeff and City Councilmember Alan Gerson, the parents and friends of P.S. 42, the Benjamin Altman School, reached a settlement on Sept. 23 of their dispute with the developer of a seven-story residential condo adjacent to the school,

But the large fifth floor window in Allen Ng’s fifth grade classroom on the north lot-line of the school at 71 Hester St., which the school parents sought to preserve, will probably be covered up when construction of the condo is completed.

Nevertheless, both the Committee to Save the Benjamin Altman School and the developer, Voyager Development Co., said they were gratified at the outcome of the committee’s suit to stop the developer from blocking the three-bay window on the top floor of the school.

“I think we’ve set a precedent and sent a message that developers can’t just do what they want,” said Victor Papa, head of the committee that brought the suit.

“We love the neighborhood and we’re glad to have the opportunity to help the school,” said Allen M. Turek, attorney for the developer.

The settlement provides for one of two options; the developer would either make a $15,000 contribution to the school’s Parent-Teacher Association to be used as the association sees fit, or pay up to $25,000 for alternations to the fifth floor of the school. The P.T.A. and School Construction leaders are to decide on which option to take.

Gerson would cover the rest of the alteration cost, up to $25,000 from his Council discretionary funds. Gerson would also match the developer’s contribution of $15,000 if the P.T.A. and school officials decide against the alteration option.

The alterations would involve removing air conditioning equipment from two small windows near the ceiling on the Hester St. side and installing a new air conditioning and ventilation system in the ceiling of the classroom, plus constructing two small windows in an adjacent classroom on the fifth floor.

—Albert Amateau