City Councilmember Eric Gioia told the audience at St. Patrick's school that two deputy mayors had assured him certification of the proposed new zoning would be concluded in May. Joy Chen of the Department of City Planning added that an environmental impact statement for the proposed zoning area is 80 percent completed and can be expected in May; then, the public review process can begin. Eric Palatnik, a lawyer representing Dutch Kills small industrialists, said he knows that the process is unstoppable, yet he believes amendments to the new zoning can be made, to recover at least partially for his people the functional ability he believes they are losing with the new zoning proposals.
Dutch Kills Civic Association Debates Zoning Issues
Perhaps the most contentious moment of the evening came when Palatnik, who had earlier warned homeowners that they might have to conclude they'd won a dubious victory as they confronted restrictions they hadn't anticipated, specified that according to zoning regulations, they would have to provide eight feet of side yard space when rebuilding, which for some of them would require shrinking the already precious frontage on their houses. An infuriated George Stamatiades interrupted Palatnik to charge that what he said wasn't true and that he was irresponsible to say it. Joy Chen of City Planning was called upon to clarify the issue. She said a "small lot" needn't provide side yard space if it is not detached, but if it is, it must. Palatnik said he had been hearing confusing versions. By evening's end, confusion remained about what is required for detached and semi-detached houses. Gioia, who said it would be "a terrible thing to discover" that one's house might have to be shrunk in order to be repaired, said he should look for City Council funding to provide the Dutch Kills homeowners with a lawyer.