Community Board 5 voted 32-8 last Wednesday in favor of a rezoning plan that would allow the famed restaurant to construct a second story. The additional space would contain a banquet hall that fits up to 140 people.
Under the proposed plan, the height of O’Neill’s would increase from 14 feet to 25 feet with the addition of the second floor. In order to build higher, restaurant ownership is seeking to rezone the plot of land from an R4 to an R5D district with a C2-2 commercial overlay.
The rezoning pitch also includes a handful of other area lots to bring them into compliance with city code.
CB 5’s Zoning and Land Use Committee recommended the full board vote in favor of the project, a vote of support the committee’s chairman, Walter Sanchez, said came with the “full understanding” that parking is a challenge in the area.
In an effort to alleviate some of those concerns, O’Neill’s submitted letters from various businesses and organizations in the area, including Babco Inc. and Action Tire Services, which they said will allow cars from O’Neill’s to park on their premises.
The restaurant’s management has also committed not to build apartments above the restaurant, even if a future zoning change may allow it, according to Sanchez, who said O’Neill’s has a good track record in the community.
How would that work? The city is enforcing deed restrictions now? Why would you ask for a change in residential zoning only to restrict what you can build? This is a bit strange.
Above is a map of where the proposed valet parking lots are. (O'Neill's is marked in red.) I've seen restaurants use a lot around the corner, across the street or down the block, but I ain't never seen anything proposed quite like this. How would this even work? Are these places authorized to park non-customers' cars in their lots? How does insurance work?
This sounds an awful lot like the White House Restaurant story. After convincing CB7 that he needed a zoning change in order to build a catering hall, the owner instead tore it down and replaced it with a large piece of Queens Crap. (Coincidentally, O'Neill's hired the same lawyers.)