With the borough president weighing in against it, developers of a controversial proposed assisted living/senior housing facility for City Island took their fight to the city Board of Standards and Appeals.
Non-profit applicant Italian Hospital Society, wants to build a roughly 214-units at City Island Avenue and Schofield Street.
But since the plan does not meet local zoning regulations, its sponsors need two zoning variances from the BSA.
The City Island Civic Association has mobilized against the proposed project, charging it is too dense for the island, comprised of mostly one- and two-family homes, and is contrary to the zoning.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., in a letter to BSA board chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan, said the proposed facility would sit in a flood plain “that would put hundreds of seniors at risk.”
CICA board member Barbara Dolensek, among about 50 City Islanders attending the Tuesday, June 11 hearing in Manhattan, said the board leveled what she characterized as tough questions at the IHS lawyer.
“The chair of the board said start from square one and go back to the drawing board,” said Dolensek, who charged the IHS proposal “does not work on any level.”
The board asked the Yonkers-based IHS to resubmit its plans for another hearing in September, she said.
The project was first proposed several years ago, according to a published report, for a site in White Plains, but never came to fruition.
The IHS does not yet own the land, but is in contract to buy it, said Dolensek. As Diaz wrote, she also made note of the flood zone issue.
Community Board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns, also attending, said that IHS president, Dr. Domenico Mignone, was overheard before the meeting saying to an associate that if the City Island community did not accept his plan for quality senior housing, he was going to “turn it [the land] into another Seafood City.”
He was referring to a fast-food style island restaurant that some residents have complained about over quality-of-life issues, such as noise.
“That comment, to us, portrays a certain amount of anger and emotional instability,” said Kearns. “It belies a certain attitude of disrespect to the community.”
Mignone, an obstetrician with practices in Manhattan and Westchester, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
During one call on Monday, June 17, a person answering the phone who did not identify themselves said, “I know that the doctor doesn’t comment on these things…because certain outfits, such as yours, have consistently distorted the story.”
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393