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Bronx Park East protests 6-story building development

Bronx Times
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A development company with plans to construct a 6-story apartment building on White Plains Road is facing tremendous community opposition.

On Wednesday, April 25 the Bronx Park East community held a protest at 2241 White Plains Road, the proposed site of the project, to say “no” to over-development in their area.

“The community does not want this development here,” said Raphael Schweizer, co-founder of the Bronx Park East Community Association and lifelong resident, after the protest.

One of the biggest concerns the community has about the project is its affect on the area’s limited street parking.

“This neighborhood is already over saturated with cars and it’s so hard to find parking,” said longtime resident Evelyn Hernandez-Rosa, after the protest.

According to those in attendance at Community Board 11’s March meeting, developer Volmar Construction said there are no plans to incorporate off-street parking for the building’s tenants.

Residents are upset the developer didn’t reveal its intentions before it went ahead with its plans.

Schweizer said residents would prefer an alternative project, like a multistory parking garage, a much-needed amenity for the area.

“The reason we’re fighting so hard is because we want developers to know that if they don’t ask for community input or permission to build first, they will be defeated,” said Schweizer.

On Thursday, April 26, Community Board 11 voted to send correspondence to HPD recommending they do not give city funding to construct the 36 units of affordable housing.

Besides the parking issue, some local residents are skeptical about the project’s affordability. The size of the apartments do not match the rent, they believe.

The NYC Department of Housing, Preservation and Development, the office of Councilman Ritchie Torres, and Volmar Construction were informed of CB 11’s recommendation the day after the vote was taken.

HPD was still considering the project for development as of Tuesday, May 22, according to an HPD spokesperson.

The spokesperson verified that all projects under review for HPD funding must adhere to strict structural guidelines before being approved.

Councilman Ritchie Torres has been in contact with developers Volmar Construction, HPD, and the community board, since March when the plans were officially filed with the NYC Department of Buildings.

Since the development falls within Torres council district, his input is required for the specific funding Volmar Construction is applying for from the city.

On March 20, a representative from the councilman’s office toured a similar property owned by the developers to get a sense of the their workmanship.

“The councilman is inclined to defer to the local community board and civic associations, but no final decision had been made at this time,” said a spokesman for Torres in May.

As of Wednesday, May 23, Volmar Construction still had not responded to emails or phone calls from the Bronx Times with a comment on the project.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at svalenzuela@cnglocal.com.
Posted 12:00 am, May 28, 2018
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