Community Board 10 formed a committee on Tuesday, July 25, to study overdevelopment, including a proposed 10-story medical building at 3250 Westchester Avenue.
The seven-member ad-hoc committee on over-development was formed at a public hearing held at the Greek American Institute, 3573 Bruckner Boulevard.
The ad-hoc committee includes four board members — committee chairwoman Irene Guanill-Elukowich, Andrew Chirico, Terence Franklin and John Marano; and three area residents — Grace Cerini, Patty Justiniano, and Michele Torrioni.
“We haven’t seen any plans on this building whatsoever,” CB 10 chairman Peter Sullivan said early Wednesday, August 2. The committee’s first meeting was scheduled at 7 p.m. that evening in the board office at 3165 East Tremont Avenue.
“This committee tonight should be working on a mission statement and putting together ideas at this point,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said the ad hoc committee is going to review overdevelopment in the Pelham Bay area and collect ideas from the neighborhood on what residents would like to see, because so many pelham Bay residents seem to be against the 3250 Westchester Avenue project.
CB 10 will not get the plans from NYC Department of Buildings until they’re approved and become public information, according to Sullivan.
While the board and speakers at the hearing discussed what they believed was a proposal to convert the current 2-story medical facility, which was the former Chateau Pelham catering facility, into a 10-story structure, the developer stated the proposed building will be in addition to the two structures already occupying the site.
A 2-story commercial building, containing a CVS and several other stores, bordering Bruckner Boulevard between Westchester and Wilkinson avenues, also occupies the site.
Ira Sax, spokesman for developer Rester USA, said, “We’re adding another medical building on the corner. We filed plans for a separate building from CVS straight to the corner.”
Matthew Cruz, who started in June as district manager of CB 10, explained at the hearing that Rester USA filed a zoning determination to confirm that its architectural drawings meets current zoning.
“So the Buildings Department will review the zoning and after zoning determination is approved, the community board and the community have 45 days to respond with our objections to the zoning determination,” Cruz said.
If the DOB does object to the zoning determination, the developer has the right to go to the Board of Standard Appeals for a hearing to appeal the zoning. The community board would have input at the BSA process if it goes to that level, according to Cruz.
Sax was surprised to hear that the board thought that the developer was either going to tear down the existing facility or expand on top of it. He insisted that they’re not touching the existing building, but going to build a separate structure on a plot of empty land on the northwest corner of Bruckner Boulevard, at Wilkinson Avenue.
Sax said they want to add 75 spots to the existing 90.
“We’ll be adding a tremendous amount of parking and bringing a lot more jobs to the neighborhood. This area has grown tremendously in residential, more than surrounding areas. We’re only going to bring value to the neighborhood,” Sax said.