City Planning certifies CI development

On Monday, May 4, the city’s Department of City Planning certified a proposed City Island development that has generated debate for years.

City Island Estates LLC has come before Community Board 10 before to marshal support for the Fordham Place development. Next month, the Manhattan developer will deliver a formal presentation and the development will begin public review.

City Island Estates has modified its 2006 proposal somewhat; five of the development’s 22 condominium buildings – those facing Fordham Place – would adhere to City Island’s 35-foot height limit. The remaining 17 buildings, at 41.5 feet, would exceed the limit.

CB 10 will review the proposal and decide whether to grant City Island Estates a height variance. In order to build, the developer also needs CB 10 to approve a zoning change. The property, a ramshackle shipyard, is currently zoned for commercial use, not residential.

City Island Estates land-use lawyer Melanie Meyers is confident that City Island residents will warm to the development. Many are opposed to the variance and to development in general.

“There’s a feeling on City Island that we don’t need more people,” said Barbara Dolensek of the City Island Civic Association.

Dolensek is concerned about crowding at P.S. 175. The school is already full, she said. Fred Ramftl of the City Island Civic agreed.

“You have people with three cars,” Ramftl said. “The people who live on Fordham Place now park on the street.”

Dolensek and Ramftl half-applauded the modified proposal; they want City Island Estates to drop the remaining 17 buildings to 35 feet. According to Meyers, City Island zoning laws require peaked roofs. The 41.5-foot buildings wouldn’t stand out because the property slopes down to the sea, she said.

City Island Estates is pursuing a number of state Department of Environmental Conservation approvals. The approvals involve waterfront restoration, Meyers said. The development would boast a homeowner’s association.

CB 10 district manager Ken Kearns doubts that City Island Estates would find enough buyers if the development were approved. He expects the board to vote against the variance. The developer is optimistic, Meyers said.

City Island Estates’ new proposal includes one other change: it calls for 43 condo units rather than 44. According to Meyers, the formal presentation will take place at a CB 10 housing and zoning committee meeting in June.

City Island, City Planning

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