Saturday, October 19, 2013

Community board concerned about plan for Richmond Hill Republican Club

From the Queens Chronicle:

The owners of the landmarked Richmond Hill Republican Club presented their plans for the century-old building to Community Board 9 Tuesday night, and the board is now tasked with deciding if a desired renovation of the landmark structure is worth approving a license many community boards loathe to support.

The owners, a group called Siberian Ice, want to use the building at 86-15 Lefferts Blvd., between Jamaica and Hillside avenues, as a catering hall, but they also plan to put another facility in the basement of the structure that will require them to get a cabaret license. Some community boards opt to never give out cabaret licenses and most, including CB 9, require more extensive information than usual in order to approve one.

Siberian Ice is seeking a change in usage according to section 74-711 of the city’s zoning regulations, which would allow them to restore the building to close to what it was, while using it as a catering hall.

“One of the uses they are proposing for this building is not permitted for this zoning district,” said Sylvia Hack, chairwoman of CB 9’s land use committee. “So they will need to come back and get a special license from the city to allow a cabaret in the basement.”

Hack said CB 9 favors a “better” rather than a “mediocre” restoration of the building, which has been vacant for two decades, and that may require the board to approve the cabaret license at a later date. While Siberian Ice is not required to apply for a 74-711, it is willing to, but only if the cabaret license is approved. Because only the faÁade of the building is landmarked, Siberian Ice is only required to maintain the front and not the entire building.

“They are not prepared to do this higher restoration unless they do get approval for the cabaret license,” Hack added.

CB 9 Chairman Jim Cocovillo said the cabaret license issue puts the board in a bind because, while most members want the building to have the best restoration possible, many may have reservations about a dancing license.


Anonymous said...

A cabaret? that is a step up from the brothel it once was.

Joe Moretti said...

There are too many of these so-called "catering halls" in the Greater Jamaica area. Knowing how Jamaica is, this would be a bad idea, you know problems will arise from it in the wild wild west were anything goes from the owner, construction and then when it opens.

Anonymous said...

If a catering hall is to be successful, they would probably need to do a lot of weddings and sweet sixteen type parties, who would want to ban dancing at their wedding?

Anonymous said...

I agree there are a lot of those halls, Joe, than I want to see too, but obviously the market supports them if they can stay open. As long as they're law abiding properly zoned businesses it's their right.

Anonymous said...

I remember that basement had an archery club back then.

Anonymous said...

I really find it hard to believe that a NYC Community Board would truly be against any brothel or saloon. Maybe they just haven't found the right price yet!