CI 22-home project ready to go forward

Though the project may be at a standstill (above), in now appears that expiration of an Authorization, which negated building permits, will not be enough to put the Harbour Pointe development on hold indefinitely. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

With stop work orders present on a massive 22-home project on City Island, the project has ground to a standstill. But there are signs that it will soon be allowed to proceed, to the dismay of some islanders.

The project, located at the former site of Royal Marina at 521 City Island Avenue, calls for the development of two-family homes on what had been a boat storage yard. The complex has been named Harbour Pointe.

Stop work orders were issued when an authorization, which is essentially a variance granted by the City Planning Commission in 2004, lapsed in July and the plans were deemed no longer in compliance with recent down zoning of City Island. It was thought that when the authorization expired, all the plans might be in jeopardy, but this appears to no longer be the case.

It now seems the only thing holding up the project are relatively minor issues with parking. The original developer, Les Lerner, sold the project to City Island-based developer Hiam Joseph in 2007.

“Based on my understanding, the developer had to make some adjustments in the parking, adjusting the plans to the new downzoning,” said Barbara Dolensek, secretary of the City Island Civic Association. “Once the adjustments to the plans are made, the Department of Buildings can lift the stop work order.”

Despite facing formidable foes that feel that the letter of the zoning law should be adhered to and the entire project scrapped, this does not appear to be happening, in part because Joseph said in the past that major construction at the site occurred before the authorization expired.

“Since the CPC approved the plans, the project should go through as originally planned,” Joseph said in a past interview.

Some in the community feel that the project is not in keeping with the small town, village-like atmosphere of City Island.

“He is putting in the cheapest quality housing on that site, and trying to fit as many units as he can get,” said CICA president-elect Bill Stanton.

According to sources, Joseph is also interested in purchasing The Laurels, a condo-complex on the corner of City Island Avenue and Bay Street that was once owned by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Joseph has not yet signed a contract for the property, but sources said he would like to see it become a rental complex.

The DOB and Hiam Joseph did not comment as of press time on the matter.

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