Community Board 11 voted Monday to recommend that the city Board of Standards and Appeals disapprove the plan of a new owner to finish developing four attached brick houses on 47th Avenue off 198th Street in Auburndale, despite a longstanding effort to resolve what residents and board members have regarded for years as a potentially dangerous eyesore.
The site has access on 47th Avenue but uses a 198th Street address due to the configuration of the houses.
Elizabeth Bennett, a lawyer representing the owner, argued that the project should be allowed to proceed based on the building code standards that were in place in 2005, when a previous owner completed a substantial amount of the project, not new standards that were passed in 2008.
Bennett said the legal principle behind the request was the common law doctrine known as vested rights.
But during the board’s discussion period, some members who voted against the request said they were unconvinced that the owner was entitled to vested rights and wanted to see the site held to the newer building code standards.
And even some board members who believed the owner was entitled to be grandfathered in said the project does not provide enough space for fire truck egress.
Bennett argued that no Fire Department objections have been raised so far and that even if they were at a later date, the BSA has approved projects with even less egress.
The board voted 34-4 with 2 abstentions. Its action is only advisory. The application now goes to the Borough President’s office and then to the BSA.
And we all know what will happen at Borough Hall and 22 Reade Street.