2010-05-26 / Features

Way Is Clearing For Board 1 Dorm

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

The way is clear for a 19-story dormitory at 30-30 Northern Blvd.

Community Board 1 voted to approve a variance to permit a Use Group 3 dormitory with as of right convenience retail and mini-storage and accessory parking with conditions at its May 18 meeting.

The facility is to be a dormitory only. That was a major concern last month when the project was proposed by Edward J. Minskoff Equities, a commercial developer and the owner of the property. Minskoff chief financial officer Ben McGrath agreed to prohibit the use of clubs, bars or liquor stores by tenants in the retail spaces as well.

McGrath, in response to a letter from Community Board 1, said M1-5 zoning doesn’t permit use as a student dormito- ry and that a variance would be for 10 years, after which it must be renewed by the board.

John Carusone, chairperson of the zoning committee, specified other conditions: preference for dormitory space to students living within Community Boards 1 and 2 in Western Queens, as well as preference to residents in those same boards for jobs during construction and after.

Carusone also said the board required landscaping and beautification outside the dormitory building and security by car around the building. The dormitory will have 635 rooms with 1,640 beds and 100 parking spaces.

In a second action, the board unanimously turned down a car sharing zoning text amendment submitted by the Department of City Planning.

Joy Chen, DCP liaison to the board, said car sharing was a “relatively new thing” that is not covered in the city’s zoning code. The zoning text amendment proposes to allow car sharing vehicles to occupy up to 40 percent of parking spaces in public parking facilities and up to 20 percent of parking spaces or a total of five spaces in accessory residential parking facilities in medium and high-density residential districts. It would also permit up to 10 percent of spaces for car sharing vehicles in lower-density multifamily residential districts, as well as in accessory parking for commercial, manufacturing, and community facility uses. Compliance with the text amendment is not required, but an option, said Chen.

Board Member Gerald Caliendo said the amendment would legalize a commercial use in a residential building and opposed using municipal parking spaces for car sharing. “I think that crosses the line,” he said.

In a third action, the board turned down an application for a cabaret license at 36- 08 33rd St. The proposed nightclub, “Passion”, generated vehement resistance from more than a dozen residents.

Problems with a prior club, “Liquid”, at the same location were reported. “You don’t want to know what happened,” said one man. “We were afraid to allow our kids out, we were afraid to come out of our houses.”

Residents also complained of destruction of private property, public urination and threatening behavior.

“Something like this brings nothing positive to a neighborhood,” said Gerry Walsh, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association. Board Member Ann Bruno said Club Liquid was closed because of repeated complaints to the 114th Police Precinct.

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