Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Story of the uncivil property owner
From the Queens Chronicle:
A meeting of Community Board 12’s Land Use Committee regarding a vacant lot in Jamaica became so unruly, with the property owner not allowing anyone, including her lawyer, to get in a word edgewise, that she was booted from the gathering, the panel’s chairman said.
The vacant lot, which is owned by the Jamaica Estates Design Group and was represented at the meeting by managing member Athena Moriates and her lawyer, Frank Chaney, covers two addresses 178-06 90 Ave. and 90-07 178 St. Chaney did not return calls requesting comment by press time.
After the property was acquired in 2007, JEDG acquired the necessary permits to build, Sandiford said, but other than constructing a foundation, nothing has been done with the land in almost five years. During that time, the zoning changed, invalidating the original plans.
In June 2007, the Department of Buildings granted JEDG a permit for excavation and on Aug. 20 of that year a building permit was issued. The plan was to build a nine-story building totaling 26,609 square feet with underground parking. Eight thousand square feet would be used for a community facility, Sandiford said.
At that time the area was zoned R-6, which allowed for the construction of such a tall building provided that it had the required parking and the proper ratio of floor area to lot size, Sandiford said.
In September 2007, the city downzoned the area to R4-1, which only permits one- and two-family houses up to 35 feet high. Later that month, the Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order, but on Sept. 17, the agency rescinded it, according to Sandiford.
On June 12, 2008, the owner renewed the building permit and in December of that year the DOB approved a post-approval amendment to the old one. On Sept. 10, 2008, it issued a new permit to allow the development of a 38,468-square-foot seven-story building, even though it did not comply with the new zoning.
The permit lapsed, and the required amount of construction was not completed and the permits were rescinded.
In 2010 and 2011, the owner was negotiating to sell the property, even trying to strike up a deal with Queens College, but there were no offers, Sandiford said, and she could not get any kind of financing to push the project forward.