Board of Standards and Appeals vote expected on CI Hosp Society senior housing plan

By Patrick Rocchio

Despite City Islanders dropping their objection, Community Board 10 still voted not to support the fourth plan for the Italian Hospital Society’s controversial proposed senior-housing facility.

The Board of Standards and Appeals is expected to approve the plan at a June session, according to John Doyle, corresponding secretary of the City Island Civic Association.

The CICA hired an attorney to plead their cases for a smaller building before the BSA.

Nevertheless, CB 10 voted overwhelmingly at its general board meeting on Thursday, May 15 not to support the new design, the fourth iteration of a plan that originally called for 214-beds in a mostly assisted-living format. From the time of the original submission, the number of beds has been reduced 79% to 45 units of senior-housing without the assisted-living component.

CICA drops objection

Shortly before the CB 10 advisory, non-binding vote on the proposed building at Schofield Street and City Island Avenue, CICA announced it was dropping its opposition, but not giving their support.

“Our attorney tells us we’ve won a huge victory just getting it down to something that looks attractive and is not too massive, and that would at least make the lot look better than it is right now,” said CICA vice-president Barbara Dolensek. “I completely agree with her on that front, but the problem is that the builder, not the actual property itself, makes it tricky for us to respond fairly.”

Dolensek cited concerns that the variance could wind up for something different, such as a homeless shelter.

Dolensek said she was also concerned that other entities could be using IHS president Dr. Domenico Mignone’s passion for building the Italian Home for the Aged for some other purposes.

A review of the non-profit IHS’ 2011 tax return showed the organization had $359,934 on hand at the end of 2011. Shortly thereafter, they proposed a plan – the original design – which was estimated to cost close to $40 million.

‘A Partial Victory’

Regardless, Doyle said that the islanders could at least claim a partial victory.

“We didn’t get 100% of what we wanted, and he got about 20% of what they wanted,” he said of Dr. Mignone and the IHS plan.

Mignone did not respond to an e-mail request and a phone call for an interview.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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