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Norah Jones compromise with neighbours

Posted By: Staff
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New York (ANI): American singer Norah Jones has decided to compromise with her neighbours and to amend her controversial city-approved plan to add 10 windows to a side wall of her house. Jones, 30, had wanted to tear down a sidewall of her new brownstone in the Cobble Hill historic district and put in the windows, but later decided to reduce it to seven. She has now submitted the new application to add seven double-hung windows to a windowless brick wall at the three-story Amity Street house to the city"s Landmarks Preservation Commission December 9.

Under the new window plan, Jones will keep three windows she proposed for the top floor and four windows planned for the bottom floor, with three new windows proposed for the middle floor now removed. The change of plan has been seen as a compromise, especially after neighbours became furious with the previous, and officials said a revised permit is expected to soon be issued.

“Our first choice is to always have neighbours work together and find a compromise," the New York Post quoted Roy Sloane, president of the Cobble Hill Association, as saying. But Sloane also said he still believes the entire “Windowgate" creates a bad precedent for historic districts citywide and that his group is working with the Historic District Council, Brooklyn Community Board 6, and elected officials to change what he called a “loophole" that Jones took advantage of.

The Cobble Hill Association has charged that the changes are completely inconsistent with the building"s 19th-century, Greek revival architecture and should have required a hearing by the city. Some neighbours even suggested that Jones used her celebrity status to circumvent the approval process. Sloane said Jones found a city loophole that allows landmarks staff leeway to grant permits for modifications by deeming them “minor" - even though this construction wouldn"t normally fall into that category.

The planned work “sets a dangerous precedent" in the historic district, “as there are more than 80 structures with un-pierced side walls that could now petition for similar window piercing," Sloane said in a November letter to commission Chairman Robert Tierney. The commission, however, says no loopholes were used or that Jones ever received special treatment.

Before the new application, Jones" next-door neighbours had hired lawyers to block the construction and had claimed it"s a safety hazard. They had said the side brick wall"s foundation is weak and can"t support window additions. The wall, which is partially covered with wisteria vines, overlooks the yard and driveway to a co-op building at the corner of Clinton and Amity streets. Jones purchased her three-story home for 4.99 million dollars in January but has not moved in yet.

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