Oct. 4, 2019 By Christian Murray
Community Board 2 rejected a developer’s plan last night to construct a 17-story, 90-unit building on Roosevelt Avenue.
The board voted against the proposal arguing that was out of character with the area and put additional pressure on nearby services.
The developer, Peng Li of HW LIC One LLC., plans to build two structures on the corner of 51st Street and Roosevelt Avenue—with one being a 17-story mixed-use building and another being a four-story community facility, likely to be a school. The 90 apartments will all be rented at market rate.
Li needs the Board of Standards & Appeals to grant him a special permit before he can move ahead with the development. The site is located in the flight path of LaGuardia Airport and the proposed building exceeds the permitted height in the flight path by 50 feet—or about five stories.
The community board’s vote is non-binding and the BSA will make the ultimate decision. The BSA has a history of approving projects rejected by board. For instance, the BSA approved a variance in 2016 that made way for a 17-story hotel at 32-45 Queens Blvd.– despite the objections of the board.
The Roosevelt Avenue development is slated to go where the blue-colored J & Sons Supply building once stood, flush against the elevated 7 line. The building was recently demolished.
The development meets all City Planning zoning requirements—in terms of height, bulk and property use. The only area where it does not comply is in terms of the flight path.
However, Li has received a declaration from the Federal Aviation Administration saying the building would not pose a danger.
The community board’s rejection comes three days after Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer wrote a letter to the chair of the Board of Standards & Appeals calling on the agency to vote against the plan.
“A seventeen story building is out of character for this area and would tower over the rest of the neighborhood,” Van Bramer’s letter reads. “This building would be three to four times larger than any other nearby structure….A structure of this size does not belong.”
Van Bramer is unable to stop the development since it is a BSA matter, unlike a rezoning that goes through the City Council. For instance, Van Bramer came out against the hotel project on Queens Boulevard too, which the BSA ultimately approved.
The architect, Wilson Chao of Studio C Architects in College Point, said that they designed a 17 story structure in order to maximize the amount of square footage permitted by City Planning. They could not yield, he said, the same square footage with a shorter building and comply with zoning code.
The board’s rejection letter will be sent to the BSA and be reviewed at a hearing. The BSA has not yet scheduled a hearing date.