Locals continue to be concerned about overdevelopment in Pelham Bay

On Wednesday, September 2, a group of residents held a rally outside the worksite at 1701 Parkview Avenue, to call attention to overdevelopment concerns shared by many in Pelham Bay and surrounding neighborhoods.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

New construction continues to be a contentious issue in Pelham Bay, with new multi-family developments falling under intense scrutiny.

Councilman James Vacca has been investigating new filings for new apartment buildings in the area and elsewhere in his district, triggering a high level review/audit of a proposed apartment building at 1701 Parkview Avenue by the NYC Department of Buildings.

This comes amid a larger wave of completed and proposed mid-rise construction that is in many cases is replacing one- and two-family homes, concerning the councilman and local community leaders.

After the councilman contacted the DOB recently, raising objections about the plans for a new seven story, 22-unit apartment building, the Parkview Avenue developer, listed on the filing as PARKVIEW HEIGHTS, LLC, will have to make changes, the councilman said.

According to DOB, the applicant will have to provide an eight-foot side yard along the entire length of the property to the adjacent property, as per the citywide Zoning Resolution, its spokesman said.

This is because the proposed building, at the corner of Parkview and Roberts avenues, is in an higher density R-7 zone bordering on a lower density R-5 zone, and has to make accommodations for the lower density dwellings on Parkview Avenue, said Vacca.

“There is a buffer missing between the higher density and lower density district,” said the councilman, who added that he is monitoring all applications for new construction in Pelham Bay, which was downzoned twice in the past decade.

The area is now seeing a surge in applications after much of the building activity was sidelined during the 2008-09 recession and sluggish recovery.

“All of these applications have been reviewed by me with a fine tooth comb; I have been doing this since 2005,” said Vacca, adding “Anything I can do to reduce the density I will try.”

Other projects include three new buildings – two proposed and one recently completed – on Buhre Avenue, and several others in the community and neighboring ones.

Pelham Bay, which has a stock of pre-World War II apartment buildings and newer ones mixed in with one- and two-family homes, is seeing changes that are upsetting many longtime homeowners, said Michelle Torrioni, president of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association.

Torrioni has invited Councilman Vacca to address the Pelham Bay Taxpayers meeting on Tuesday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Theresa School.

At the meeting, Vacca is expected to address development and as well as other issues.

The civic leader said that she and her members have expressed concerns about infrastructure, schools that are already overcrowded and parking concerns in light of the new construction

She believes that Pelham Bay is saturated with development, and that if its already mixed density precludes it from being downzoned further, then zoing rules regulating this have to be changed.

“It is great that the Bronx is up and coming,” said Torrioni “But this is changing the nature of the one- and two-family home aspect of Pelham Bay.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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