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Queens Chronicle

Old project, new zone clash in CB 5

Permit expired under pre-2009 regs; current owner wants to finish

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Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:56 pm, Thu Dec 29, 2011.

The new owner of a stalled house extension project on 58th Avenue in Maspeth said last week that everyone wins should he get permission to finish his building from the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals.

At issue is a mostly-completed extension to the house at 68-10 58 Ave., where the former owner received approval in 2005 to extend two floors and add on basement area for six apartments in addition to the nine already in place.

The extension was legal at the time, as the property was located in an R-4 zone, and the three-story project was almost completed in 2008.

“Then the former owner ran out of money,” said attorney Todd Dale, representing Angar Realty Corp., who purchased the unfinished building in August.

Then the construction permit expired.

And in July 2009 the property was rezoned as R4-1, under which plans for the extension are not in compliance.

Dale said the building now sits 92 percent completed, and that the board should allow the permits to run with the land rather than the owners.

Members of the board were skeptical, saying that the completed structure would be out of character with the traditionally one- and two-family house neighborhood.

“How does the community benefit from this?” asked Board Member Peter Comber.

Dale said they benefit by no longer having an empty, unfinished building sitting in the neighborhood.

Developers often are able to get BSA approval for projects that do not meet regular local standards. One criteria for BSA approval can be financial hardship, and Dale said tearing down completed construction to meet the new codes would be prohibitively expensive.

Numerous civic and elected officials in Queens believe the BSA wields far too much power and grants variances on the flimsiest of standards.

Councilmen Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) are supporting legislation to add checks and balances to the procedure and tilt the scale back in favor of local boards.

CB 5 will vote on the 58th Avenue request in January.

In other board business, Chairman Vincent Arcuri Jr. updated members and the public on the Parks Department’s progress at the Ridgewood Reservoir.

City officials said two weeks ago that they are extending their deadline to finish phase one of the project, which includes new lighting, fencing and new paving on the walking-biking path.

The spring finish date has been pushed back because of infrastructure degradation that only was uncovered after work was begun. Parks officials said the delay is a choice to err on the side of caution.

The board also approved or renewed 12 liquor or beer and wine permits.

New liquor permits were approved for Anthony Pizzariello or an entity to be formed at 82-11 Eliot Ave. in Middle Village, formerly the site of John Patrick’s Pub; Gretta Fernandez DBA Palazzo on Grand at 73-60 Grand Ave., the former site of LaCue Billiards; and Sabor Y Rumba, Inc. at 666 Seneca Ave in Ridgewood. The Pizzariello permit is for an outdoor area.

Renewals were approved for the Polish German Club House Inc. at 576 Fairview Ave. in Ridgewood; and London Lennie’s at 63-88 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park.

New beer/wine approvals were granted to GRW of NY Corp. DBA Revitali Bar Lounge at 64-14 Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood, the former site of Pharoh Cafe; JK Foods, Inc. DBA Gyro-Ville at 65-57 Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood; and Coyote Bohemio Inc. at 55-19 Myrtle Ave. in Ridgewood. The GRW application is for an outdoor area.

Beer/wine renewals were granted to Joe and Nick’s Pizza, Inc. at 79-76 Cooper Ave. in Glendale; Caldwell Deli at 69-50 Caldwell Ave. in Maspeth; E-Chiban Sushi Inc. at 66-47 Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood; and CBC Pizza Corp. DBA Glendale Pizza at 68-27 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale.

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