Lots ado about a lot

You want red tape?

Try this Westchester Square property owner fixing up the backyard commercial garage.

They’ve had to hire a lawyer and campaign officials to remove a street from the city grid.

An open ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) would allow the landlord of Dom’s Auto Body the chance to beautify and secure a 9,090-square foot no-man’s land on Ponton Avenue just off Blondell Avenue. The space has been used for decades as a vital, but illegal storage space.

Dead end street

For over 30 years, Dom’s has used the Ponton Avenue parcel for parking and repairs. The land is vital to the shop’s business, said one of the shop’s owners.

Yet the makeshift parking lot is part of a larger city-owned street that once ran from Blondell Avenue to Waters Place before New York City Transit (NYCT) converted it into a rail yard in 1925, according to city documents.

Today, most of that street does not physically exist. Beyond the 9,090-square foot no-man’s land, what was once a paved 38,430 square-foot street plummets over 10 feet into the Pelham and Westchester rail yards, where repairs are made to the No.6 subway.

Illegal parking lot

The shop’s makeshift storage facility being city-owned has caused Dom’s headaches, said Vincentd Delorio, attorney for property owner Gerald Messuri.

The shop has no legal defense against other vehicles parking there, while the businesses has no legal right to the space, though city officials have long turned a blind eye to the glitch in the city plan.

“It will help eliminate issues that arise when other people attempt to park in this area,” Delorio said. “There’s no policing of that.”

Community Board 11 voted at its October meeting to approve the demapping of the section of Ponton from Blondell to Waters. The lopsided decision was the first of a series of bureaucratic hurdles that the auto shop’s property owner must jump to finally be able to buy the parcel from the city – if it decides to sell it. The city has already stipulated that the landlord will not gain access to the rail yard.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will have the next say on the street’s demapping. If he approves the plan, it will then climb the bureaucratic ladder through various agencies, for final approval by the City Council.

Dom’s stays on

Delorio said if successful, shop landlord Messuri clean up the makeshift parking lot, adding fences, lighting and security measures.

CB 11 received a letter stating that Dom’s Auto Body will remain a tenant, said Joe McManus, chair of the board’s Land Use Committee.

“Our approval was contingent on Dom’s staying on as a tenant,” McManus said. “We were told that Dom’s would remain there as long as the business wanted.”

Ben Kochman can be reach via e-mail at BKochman@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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