The controverial, recently halted monopole, partially built at the southern edge of Co-op City, will support a wind turbine instead of a billboard that was expected to soar over 250 feet above the ground.
That structure at 500 Baychester Avenue, will join two other billboards as well as a 7-Eleven convenience store, a TD bank and a Sherwin Williams paint store on the commercial property.
The originally-planned illuminated billboard would have shined all night into the bedrooms of many Co-op City apartments.
On Thursday, December 12, two flatbed trucks carrying pieces of the wind turbine arrived at the property.
Elected officials and Community Board 10 fielded hundreds of inquiries from local residents that spotted the erector on the property.
As of Tuesday, December 17, the wind turbine was assembled, and the power generator now towers over 200 feet above the current illuminated billboards.
Matt Cruz, district manager of Community Board 10 stated that while he doesn’t oppose wind turbines, he finds the newly erected turbine location inappropriate.
Rodney Saunders, second vice president of the Riverbay board of directors was bewildered by the wind turbine installation.
He said he has not been able to find any building permits for the structure.
He believes that after the property owner was denied a NYC Department of Buildings permit for a third billboard, he decided to install a wind turbine instead.
“My belief is the owner has always been ahead of the game, put the stack up and decided to play the odds,” Saunders said.
According to Saunders, the borough president along with the Riverbay Corp. board of directors and other individuals are in the process of finding out more information regarding the wind turbine.
Meanwhile, an application to change the current C7 zoning to C8-2 is heading to the City Planning Commission for a vote on January 8.
This parcel and a portion of Coney Island have a C7 zoning, set aside for amusement parks. The Bartow Avenue parcel was once part of the Freedomland property. Under C7 zoning the size and height of a billboard are not restricted.
The DOB, temporarily halted the construction of the huge billboard monopole earlier this year.
Cruz said the board is supporting the rezoning of the property from C-7 to C8-2.
Saunders however is not pleased with the City Planning’s C8-2 recommendation. He claims that this zoning permits businesses like slaughterhouses and even crematories to be built. Also the designation is the highest commercial zoning, just below manufacturing, he said.
“He’s pushing for the less intrusive C4-3. At a meeting City Planning stated they are proposing C8 in part because it does not allow residential development which is permitted by C4-3.”
However, local elected officials and Borough President Ruben Diaz do not share that sentiment and find the C8-2 zoning appropriate.
If the zoning change is approved it would ‘grandfather’ in any projects already built or under construction. It would however prevent any new project’s from starting.