Round 2 on Astor Ave. facility

Builder Les Lerner is appealing to the Board of Standards and Appeals for a special permit to construct a 9,996 square foot medical facility at 1464 Astor Avenue. Photo by Victor Chu

The residents of Astor Avenue are preparing for round two, as notorious developer Les Lerner attempts to once again introduce a medical facility into the area.

Last year, Lerner, through LAL Astor Avenue Management Co., purchased the property of 1464 Astor Avenue and the neighboring vacant lot, and proposed a 19,000 square foot building for medical purposes. The project was abandoned when Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s office discovered the project exceeded the city’s Zoning Resolution limiting medical facilities to 1,500 square feet in certain residential districts.

Despite the defeat, on April 29, Lerner submitted new plans to the Department of Buildings for a two-story, 9,996 square foot treatment health care facility, with 20 off-street parking spaces, which was disapproved on May 19.

Lerner will now be requesting a special permit from the Board of Standards and Appeals, to construct a medical facility up to 10,000 square feet on the property.

Local residents discussed the matter at the Allerton Avenue Homeowners & Tenants Association at the request of Vacca on Thursday, August 27.

“We have to get residents ready to review the strategies based on criteria set by BSA,” said Vacca. “This was an informational meeting and it let people know we are prepared. Of course we need the residents help because they may have further information to make our case stronger.”

Neighbors affected were able, with the help and support of Vacca and Senator Jeff Klein, to review potential environmental and public safety issues.

“I think most of us at the meeting felt really good about the way it went and to see the support we have from Councilman Vacca’s office, Senator Klein’s office, and Sal [Castorina] for being kind enough to open up space for us to meet,” said Anjali Kochar, Eastchester resident, who’s backyard faces the proposed site. “To have Vacca’s office so succinctly summarize areas of concern was helpful because we were able to organize around those points.”

Additionally, a petition opposed to this development is circulating on surrounding blocks for neighbors to sign

A public hearing will be held by Community Board 11 on this matter on Wednesday, September 9 at 7 p.m. at P.S. 97, located 1375 Mace Avenue. All are encouraged to attend.

“This is the community’s opportunity to come and be heard on this application,” said John Fratta, district manager of CB11. “We are urging the community to come out, it’s a very important public hearing for this area.”

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