New Zoning Law Prevents Throggs Neck Medical Office from Opening

It appears that a medical facility will not be located in a historical building that once housed Throggs Neck’s only synagogue.

After meeting with Community Board 10, Dr. Albert Graziosa was informed that the Throggs Neck Jewish Center at 2918 Lafayette Avenue, which is up for sale and has not been fully utilized for around 10 years, is not be suitable for a medical facility under the new Lower Density Growth Management Zoning regulations that place parking and lot size restrictions on medical facilities in residential parts of the board.

Passed by the City Council in January, the new zoning regulation preserves the character of residential blocks in parts of Throggs Neck, Pelham Bay, Waterbury-LaSalle, Country Club, Spencer Estate, and City Island.

“I think that it would be a shame to lose this building, which is a beautiful building that could continue to offer service to the community if we were allowed to redevelop it into our offices,” Graziosa said. “I think that it would be a fitting tribute to Rabbi Katz, the founder of the congregation, to have the building which had been used as a place of spiritual support to continue to be a place of healing.”

Unfortunately, the width of the property is only 50 feet, and the site could only accommodate six or seven parking spaces, said Dr. Graziosa.

The doctor was told by CB 10, which consulted with the Department of City Planning, that because of the new zoning ordinance, the property would have to be 60 feet wide to accommodate an orthopedic and sports medicine practice.

Graziosa had planned to construct a driveway that would bring cars to the rear of the property, and aside from minor alterations to the facade, he planned to keep the building intact, he said.

Community Board 10 did not even vote on the proposal because of the new zoning restriction.

“No one was against the project on its merits, but it just did not fit in under the purview of the new zoning text,” CB 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns said.

Graziosa said he plans to investigate if there is any way to salvage the plan. He added that he is totally mindful of the neighbors’ desire to see their street remain as residential as possible.

“Fortunately, this doctor was smart enough to come to us before purchasing the property,” said CB 10 board member Robert Bieder. “Doctors offices and day care centers are wonderful things, we just want to make sure they are not overrunning residential parts of the community.”

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