From SI Live:
Take a short walk around Dongan Hills and you’re apt to pass by the office of a doctor, a dentist, a surgeon, a chiropractor, a physical therapist — and quite possibly, all of the above.
Two years ago, the founder of the Dongan Hills United Civic Association, Bernie Kosinski, cited “overdevelopment,” and specifically, “the proliferation of medical offices” as his community’s most pressing issue.
The Department of City Planning is introducing tighter zoning rules that may appease Staten Islanders who have complained that medical offices and day-care centers are oversized and overabundant, out-of-character and taxing on local traffic and parking.
The new rules aim to prevent the building of the facilities in residentially zoned areas, and to encourage them to be built in commercial zones.
Medical offices across Staten Island already are densely concentrated in commercial and mixed-use areas, including Hylan Boulevard and Richmond Road, Richmond Avenue and Victory Boulevard.
But, often in the form of converted houses, they pop up in residential areas and cluster along roads just off of major thoroughfares.
The proposed legislation calls for new medical facilities in residential areas to be located on lots no smaller than 5,700 square feet. On-site parking must be provided, and owners will not be permitted to seek to have the parking requirement waived.
Day-care centers would not be permitted on lots smaller than 10,000 square feet. That will cut down on the building because lots of that size are scarce in residential neighborhoods, officials told the Advance this month.
In addition to lot-size requirements, day-care centers would have to provide on-site parking for employees, and an on-site drop-off point for children. Most Island sites would require about six parking spots.
City Planning has also closed a loophole that allowed owners to use the basements of their buildings without having that space counted toward the zoning-limited square-footage of the facility.
Existing facilities will be allowed to stay in operation and will not be fined, but will not be permitted to expand beyond the scope of the new regulations.
Parking regulations for the facilities in commercial areas will be relaxed somewhat so that fewer spaces will be required than normal.