BSA to vote on mosque in Flushing 1

This lot at the intersection of Parsons Boulevard and 46th Avenue could become the site of a mosque if the Board of Standards and Appeals approves it. The plan is opposed by many civic activists in Flushing.

The Board of Standards and Appeals will vote on a mosque proposed for 46-05 Parsons Blvd. on Aug. 2. And the civic activists that have opposed the project — which requires many zoning variances — are not confident that it will be rejected.

After initially tabling it, Community Board 7 unanimously rejected the proposal, and Borough President Melinda Katz wrote a letter to the BSA, which has held hearings on the matter, urging it to oppose the project.

“The building is an issue,” Joe Amoroso, the former zoning chairman of the Kissena Park Civic Association told the Chronicle. “It’s not an issue with their religion.”

The variances sought by Masjid e-Noor, the group behind the Flushing proposal, are from regulations for parking, sky exposure plane, side yard, floor area ratio and other construction regulations for a community facility in a R2 district. The planned floor area ratio for the project is 1.045; the ratio of 0.5 is required in R2 districts.

Parking, according to Amoroso, is the “big issue” with the project.

Although none is planned for the proposal, an environmental study commissioned by the BSA did not find it to be a problem, concluding that many spaces were available in the surrounding area.

Amoroso finds the study questionable. “People who live there can’t find parking spaces,” he said.

Because those who worship at the mosque plan on walking to it — most live within a mile of the lot where construction is planned — the parking variance has been sought by those behind the proposal. Twenty-one spots are required for community facilities by the R2 zoning code that the area has.

Amoroso, who retired as the zoning chairman after the last BSA hearing about the project, thinks that worshipers will drive to the mosque in situations like stormy weather. “This was an issue that we brought up with the BSA,” he said.

“No parking,” Auburndale Improvement Association First Vice President Henry Euler said. “That’s gonna be a strain on the neighborhood.”

The proposal’s plans for the front yard, Amoroso added, may also be problematic.

“They’re extending the front yard closer to the sidewalk on both 46th Avenue and Parsons,” he said. “That reduces the visibility for people coming up Parsons or 46th because it’s a corner lot, so it makes it very difficult to see around that corner.”

Community Board 7 and state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) suggested a site on Sanford Avenue with parking spots, although the plans for the project did not change. The senator is declining to comment until the BSA makes its decision on the matter.

Masjid e-Noor could not be reached for comment.

“I don’t think we’re gonna stick our tails between our legs and run away,” Carsten Glaeser, KPCA’s vice president, said.

“We still have an opportunity to fight this,” Amoroso said, adding that the civic association could file an Article 78 lawsuit — a legal action used to appeal decisions made by municipalities — against the city if the BSA approves the variances for the proposal.

“Once again, the behavior of the Board of Standards and Appeals defies logic and reason,” land use expert Paul Graziano said in an statement. “Why bother having laws if they are never going to be followed?”


(1) comment

Rafick Bdaro

I mean again this is another occurrence in this neighborhood, AGAIN THIS IS NOT ABOUT ISLAM!!! This is about lack of respect to the area I live in. They built a church on 33rd avenue and 146th Street, that is SO OUT OF CHARACTER for this block of single family homes and twice the recommended zoning size of the structure, opposed by residents and CB7 and here we are 2016 and its almost built and so out of character as everyone had predicted

Here we are in another situation where this proposed dwelling has pretty much defied every single zoning regulation and they want to approve it (granted no decision has been made yet) but it is clear as crystal, if its previous occupant, a doctor's office mind you where they wanted to extend their size not as much as this mosque and they got rejected, HOW CAN THIS PROJECT BE ENTERTAINED!!!! I mean completely and utterly ridiculous. Bottom line, this area does not need anymore religious dwellings (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan or otherwise....) WE NEED SPACE, WE NEED PARKS, WE NEED ACTIVITIES) Stop destroying this area any further!

I am not in this zip code but it represents my neighborhood and I like to be a participating member as much as I can!

Anyone, let me know if you are from the area and there is a residential voting form that can be done.

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