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City Island Assn. opposes latest plan for senior home

Bronx Times

It’s still no.

The City Island Civic Association will continue to legally challenge a plan to build a senior apartment building on the island.

After major oppostion, the developer scaled down its original plan by 75%, but the association is still not happy over the revised plan by the Italian Hospital Society, which is seeking a variance on local zoning regulations.

The CICA filed another challenge to the variance application before the Board of Standards and Appeals on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

The case is due back before the BSA on Tuesday, Feb. 25, with preliminary discussions on Monday, Feb. 24.

The renewed challenge came as the IHS presented a scaled-down building plan that switched it from an assisted living facility with programing and 214-units, to a 54-unit senior apartment complex without programing at Schofield Street and City Island Avenue.

The BSA previously turned down zoning variances for the 214-unit facility and for another plan that called for 150 beds.

Community Board 10’s Housing and Zoning Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday, Feb. 12 not to support the latest zoning variance.

“It was a resounding no, they had no interest in supporting that resolution,” said Kenneth Kearns, CB 10 district manager.

“There was a lot of consideration, a lot weighing, and debate,” he said. “We just felt that the last presentation really did not really answer the community’s questions, and it almost continually violated community standards, so we voted it down.”

He added that the board objected because the plan would still put a residence for frail seniors into a flood plain (post Superstorm Sandy), and still exceeded the floor area ratio for residential buildings on City Island.

Questions were also left unanswered about parking, handicapped parking, sanitation, or any services that may be available for the elderly population, he said.

The IHS also passed on four alternate plans that would have offered less dense developments for the location, and stuck to their senior housing plan, Kearns added. One of the alternate plans called for just 21 units.

CICA President Bill Stanton called the IHS’s presentations and actions “duplicitous.”

Judging from the track record of its dealings with the community, he said he saw no reason for a change of course.

John Doyle, CICA corresponding secretary, said that it was his understanding that the IHS still wanted to charge upwards of $1800 per month without any supportive services.

“From an anecdotal standpoint, there is a lot of real estate on City Island where you can get a lot more land for a lot less money than the Italian Hospital Society board members are proposing,” said Doyle.

Any discussion of building at the location would also have to involve environmental remediation, according to BSA filings, as the site at 222/32 City Island Avenue was contaminated when it was a boat-building yard.

Dr. Domenico Mignone, IHS president, did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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