In a near unanimous vote, Community Board 11 decided not to back a Bayside Hills developer’s request for a variance so he can build two homes on one lot in the neighborhood after hearing from impassioned Bayside Hills residents who spoke against the planned project.
Paul Bonfilio, architect for the project at 50-20 216th St., said he is requesting two waivers — one for the 20-foot side yard requirement and another for corner lots so that he can build an additional house on the property.
Bonfilio said there are several reasons why the variances should be approved by the city Board of Standards & Appeals.
He said that since the lot is a triangular shape, the property is unique.
Despite claims to the contrary by Bayside Hills residents, Bonfilio said the plans meet the “essential character of the neighborhood” and his subdividing the lot does not constitute a self-imposed hardship.
The architect said the proposed home would not be the only semi-detached house in the neighborhood and that there are other properties in Bayside Hills that are non-compliant with the current R2-A zoning.
“The fact that we have non-compliance is not unusual,” he said. “I did what I thought was the best approach. It’s no different from what is there now.”
Bonfilio also denied that the cellar of the proposed home would become an illegal apartment and said the home would not create traffic problems as suggested by neighbors.
“It’s a one-family house,” he said. “It’s certainly not going to cause traffic congestion.”
CB 11 voted 34-0 against the variances with one abstention.
Bayside Hills resident Henry Malone asked CB 11 to deny the variances.
“There is no doubt that the practical difficulties ... were created by the owner” by subdividing the lot, he said. “The application does not meet the requirements of the Board of Standards & Appeals.”
Bayside Hills resident David Goldstein questioned how the plans could allow for two homes on the lot if the architect needed two variances to build it.
“The whole idea that there are two pieces of property is nonsense,” he said. “Don’t feed us baloney. Baloney is not kosher.”
Goldstein accused the developer of “trying to bust R2-A zoning in Bayside Hills” and called the application “trash.”
Bayside Hills resident Ray Williams said the application was “a slap in the face to the community.”
Williams said he was concerned the application would pave the way for two-family and other multi-family houses to be built in the neighborhood.
“Look at Flushing and say to yourself, ‘Is this a community that we want to be like?’ I don’t think so,” he said.
Dennis Novick, chairman of CB 11’s Central/South Bayside Zoning Committee, said all three CB 11 members who attended a recent committee meeting about the application spoke against it, saying the property is “too tight” and “out of character,” among other concerns.
CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece was one of the three members who attended the meeting.
“This is not the norm in Bayside Hills,” he said. “With the naked eye, this property is just way to small. It’s inappropriate.”
The board chose to retain the same executive officers during elections held Monday.
All officers — Chairman Jerry Iannece, First Vice Chairwoman Christine Haider, Second Vice Chairman Dennis Novick and Third Vice Chairwoman Laura James — were unanimously re-elected.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2011 Community News Group
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