A groundbreaking court decision will allow artists to continue living in a commercially-zoned loft space at 269 Douglass Street in Gowanus, at least for the time being, reported The Brooklyn Paper. After being served eviction notices by their landlord last summer, residents of the building fought to remain and, in a surprising ruling, the court deemed it was not the correct arena to judge whether or not they should be removed.
The but was stymied when some painters and photographers who called the buildings home refused to immediately vacate.
Each loft housed about 20 residents and a couple of small businesses, like BK NY, a silk screening and tee-shirt manufacturer, Feral Childe, a clothing designer, a stained glass manufacturer, a wood-worker and cabinet maker, a towel and linen supply store and an antique furniture refurbisher. Various artists leased spaces to serve as studios, too. Combined, they employed over 100 people.
While most residents were eventually scared off or left to find a more stable space, John Romano, a photographer who has lived in the building for more than 15 years and is its last remaining resident, has stayed throughout litigation.
And, for the time being at least, that stubborness has paid off.
"Kings County Civil Court Judge Katherine Levine ruled that a city panel specializing in tenants' rights, not the court system, should decide whether or not longtime residents of industrial building lofts are breaking the law," the article states.
The artists' lawyer stated that it is the first court decision of its kind.
What do you think, should artists be allowed to live in a building that is zoned for industrial use?