UPPER EAST SIDE — The Dalton School will move ahead with plans for a rooftop addition after receiving approval from the city — despite protests from neighbors and community leaders.
The city's Board of Standards and Appeals approved a zoning variance Tuesday that will allow the esteemed private school to add two stories to its East 89th Street building. The addition will increase the height of the building from 143 to 170 feet — a total increase of 12,164 square feet — according to a proposal Dalton brought before Community Board 8 in September.
School officials said they don’t plan to increase the size of the student body but rather use the space to expand their STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — programs. The September proposal included a rooftop greenhouse and a robotics lab as possible uses.
Members of Community Board 8 denounced the plan in September due to concerns that the addition would block the light and view of other residents in the area. Some said that Dalton was taking advantage of its privileged position to try to push through an unnecessary expansion.
Dalton charges $40,000 in annual tuition and boasts alumni such as Anderson Cooper, Claire Danes and Chevy Chase.
Councilmember Dan Garodnick also took a stand on the issue, urging the BSA in a letter to consider the community board's recommendation to reject the plan.
"Obviously we're disappointed that they approved it," said Board 8 chairman Nick Viest. "Our concern is the precedent that it sets."
Ned Pinger, Dalton's chief administrative officer, attended Wednesday night’s community board meeting to announce the approval. He assured the board that Dalton would return to present more detailed plans before renovations begin as a show of good faith.