Assisted living proposal redesign

The Italian Hospital Society is taking the lead in pushing for developing the site at Schofield Street and City Island Avenue. The City Island community has largely opposed the plans through their civic group, the City Island Civic Association.
Photo by Patrick Rocchio
by Patrick Rocchio

Plans are being redesigned on a proposed assisted living facility that has stirred controversy on City Island.

The lawyer for the City Island Civic Association received word recently that the re-submission of an application for non-profit Italian Hospital Society’s proposed 214-unit assisted living/senior housing facility before the Board of Standards and Appeals has been postponed.

It had been originally scheduled for Tuesday, July 23.

After a BSA hearing in June about two requested zoning variances – one for building below “Base Flood Elevation” in a flood zone, the other for building a residential facility in a space zoned for manufacturing – the board asked the IHS to go back to the drawing board.

“Our lawyer said that they are going with a smaller project,” said Barbara Dolensek of the City Island Community Association. “What they have now said they have asked for another extension and have withdrawn the application to build below the Base Flood Elevation plan.”

Some of the first floor of the original building was below the flood plane, which is important for the parcel of land at City Island Avenue and Schofield Street, because it is in a flood zone, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The IHS will also have to submit updated financials to the BSA by Tuesday, September 3, said Dolensek. She said she is reserving judgement before seeing the new plans. The attorney for the IHS. Jordan Most, confirmed that “significant changes” would be made to the proposed plan, and that the application, would be a matter of public record shortly.

The leader of the Italian Hospital Society, Dr. Domenico Mignone, an obstetrician and gynecologist who has been critical of news media coverage, did not respond to requests for comment by this paper in the past few months.

Someone who has not be as reticent as Dr. Mignone is CICA president Bill Stanton, who has said that the project the doctor has categorized as a “dream,” is really a “nightmare” for City Island.

“This whole project, in my opinion, smells to the high heavens on its face value, including the way Dr. Mignone has been less than forthcoming about how he speaks about the project from one group to another group,” said Stanton. “We have found numerous inconsistencies in his statements.”

Stanton, a private investigator, cast his suspicions on the project and the IHS’s filing before the BSA as a non-profit because, as Dolensek pointed out, the plan is to have another entity actually run the assisted living center/senior housing complex if it is built.

At a Community Board 10 public hearing on City Island last November, there was major concern among locals about the project, who felt it was too dense a development for the island.

They also raised questions about some unusual financial conditions of the project, such as the contract for sale of the property to the IHS being contingent on a zoning variance being granted by the BSA.

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

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