Friday, January 21, 2011

You lose some...

From the Daily News:

Angry Dutch Kills residents vowed to keep fighting after a judge tossed out their lawsuit to stop a controversial developer from building a boutique hotel on a residential block.

Neighbors of the proposed nine-story hotel at 39-35 27th St. sued Steven Baharestani, who also goes by the name Steven Bahar. They charged that his company, Dutch Kills Partners, failed to meet key deadlines before the neighborhood's zoning was changed to prohibit taller commercial buildings.

They also sued the city Board of Standards and Appeals, which had grandfathered in Baharestani's project under the old zoning in May.

But the neighbors lost the case last month after missing a deadline. However, they only learned why the case was thrown out on Friday due to delays from the Queens County Clerk's Office.

Their lawyer Stephen Harrison called the loss a "hypertechnicality." He plans to appeal the case.

Barbara Lorinz, president of the Dutch Kills Advocacy League, a group of local residents, said they are "not giving up until the very, very end.

"The hotel will be surrounded by one-, two- and three-family homes and a church across the street. It's really out of place," said Lorinz, 52, who lives directly behind the hotel.

The local zoning was changed in late 2008 to make the area more residential. But then developers swooped in and started buying up property.

Dutch Kills Partners, plagued by stop-work orders, was unable to pour its building foundation before the new zoning took effect. Neighbors said their properties were damaged during construction. And Baharestani blamed his acrimonious relationships with them for the delays.

And also from the Daily News:

DUTCH KILLS residents thought new zoning laws passed last fall would end a barrage of high-rise hotel construction in the area.

They thought wrong.

Two developers have recently gotten around the new zoning, even though they failed to meet a construction deadline to qualify under the old guidelines.

One of those projects, a Marriott Hotel planned for 29-27 40th Road, was granted an exemption by the city Board of Standards and Appeals this year.

The board agreed with the developer's argument that the $7 million it had already spent on the project gave it the legal right to build under the old zoning rules.

The new zoning capped height limits between three and five stories in parts of the neighborhood where 16-story hotels had previously been allowed.

But the most recent case involving a project at 38-30 28th St. has baffled residents of the low-rise haven in Long Island City where at least 14 hotels are being built.

That was one of six hotel construction sites - including the Marriott - where the Buildings Department halted work when the City Council passed the new zoning in October.

In each case, the agency determined that foundation work had not been completed - a threshold for projects to be grandfathered in under the old zoning.

But last month, the agency lifted the stop-work order it had issued in October for the 38-30 28th St. site, where plans call for a one-story garage to be turned into a nine-story hotel.


Anonymous said...

As long as Jimmy Van Bramer and Cathy Nolan fall over themselves to show up at Dutch Kills (Upzone! Upzone! Upzone!) Civic events the community group Dutch Kills Advocacy Group which is fighting the developers doesn't stand a snowball's chance in Hell.

Anonymous said...

This neighborhood is absolutely horrendous now. The old character of predominately 2 family homes is gone. Everywhere you look is stalled construction of towers that have no business being amongst these houses and the hotels that managed to elude the zoning changes and were finished are laughably out of character. Who in their right mind would want to stay in these hotels? It looks like not that many because they are mostly empty.

Sad. Destroy a NY neighborhood for what?