Locust Point community gears up to fight proposed zoning variance

This undeveloped land in Locust Point is the subject of a possible variance.
Community News Group / Photo by Patrick Rocchio

More evidence of the Locust Point community’s resolve in fighting a zoning variance was evident this week.

A Community Board 10 Housing and Zoning Committee meeting that was to have discussed the request to override some existing zoning rules was postponed on Tuesday, January 6 because revised plans on the housing had not been submitted for board review, said CB 10 district manager Ken Kearns.

But the community came out in masse at the Locust Point Civic Association’s own regular meeting that same evening, board members said.

The crowd, numbering up to 100 people, unanimously voted to oppose a developer’s plan to build more houses then permitted through a zoning variance for property on Longstreet Avenue between Glennon and Hatting places, said outgoing LPCA president Al Belifiore.

“It was good to see the community come out to the meeting,” said Belifiore, who remains on the LPCA board. “The community doesn’t come out unless we have major problem on our hands. We usually get the same 15 to 20 people at our general meeting. We had close to 100 people tonight.”

Belifiore said that reasons that the community is opposing the plan is an already overburdened sewer line servicing the tight-knit neighborhood, concerns about the population density and overdevelopment.

If anything is built in the neighborhood, he said, the community would prefer that it take the place of an existing home without adding more houses.

“We have enough houses in here right now,” the president said, adding “the community is very much against the varience, and we don’t really want anything put there.”

A local developer, John Comer, has informed the LPCA that he plans on seeking a variance for 5 two-family homes on a parcel that would normally allow the construction of 2 two-family home under the area’s current R3-1 zoning.

According to Kearns, the Housing and Zoning Committee meeting was postponed because the developer had yet to submit plans to the board that complied with the city resiliency recommendations. Previous plans had been submitted by the developer, but the community board objected, said Keanrs, because the area where the property is located, with a water-view of Hammond Cove, was in an area affected by Superstorm Sandy.

The board is still waiting to see new drawings that should include storm aspects, Kearns said. Requirements set forth by a 2013 New York City Zoning Code change require homes to be taller in areas prone to flooding.

“We have problems because the houses are not going to be consistent with the resiliency requirements,” said Kearns, adding that the board should take up the concerns once a revised set of plans are on file.

The board is also concerned about the lack of compliance with the R3-1 zoning, te relatively high prices of the homes, and the nearness of the homes to wetlands, said Kearns.

The Department of Buildings had already turned down a previous building application for this site because it did not comply with zoning, he added.

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

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