Sunday, January 15, 2012
Doctor asks for zoning change to build "family homes"
From SI Live:
A world-famous surgeon’s sweeping vision of a family compound on his wooded, 3.8-acre property on Circle Road — seven homes, each with swimming pools, patios and two-car garages — has startled residents of prestigious Todt Hill.
As word of the project recently spread, the proposed new construction also triggered alarm bells from environmentalists and homeowners in Dongan Hills Colony, concerned about its impact on the fragile ecology of adjoining Chapin Woods, one of the newest additions to the Island’s protected Greenbelt. A magnificent bald eagle was famously sighted and repeatedly photographed there in treetops this past autumn.
Dr. Joseph McGinn, the pioneering cardiothoracic surgeon and medical director of The Heart Institute at Staten Island University Hospital, envisions building seven “modest-sized” homes on the 99-by-639-foot lot at 101 Circle Road, each with 4,500 to 5,500 square feet of living space, according to his architect, Joseph Morace.
The property is located in an area that includes Greenbelt tracts such as Reeds Basket Willow Swamp Park and Chapin Woods, and falls within the boundaries of the Island’s Special Natural Area District. Any alteration and development in the natural areas requires City Planning Commission review and authorization.
The proposed construction will require destruction of 140 of the 300 trees on the large site. The architect submitted a request to the Commission last October, asking permission to change the topography, reduce the required size of front and rear yards, and modify parking location regulations.
Dr. McGinn’s long driveway, now leading to the only house on the property, will be extended and widened into a road, said Morace, who noted that this residence will be demolished as part of the plan. The seven new homes will be clustered together as much as possible, to preserve open space, he told the Land Use Committee of Community Board 2 last week.
The once-bucolic beauty of Circle Road and other hideaway streets on Todt Hill has been forever changed by the construction of massive new single-family residences.