Sept. 9, 2012 By Christian Murray
Time is running out on Yasko Takeno-Williams’ dream of opening the Sunnyside Performing Arts Studio on 43rd Ave.
Last month, Takeno-Williams entered into a lease to establish the school at 43-20 43rd Avenue, which would offer yoga, theater, ballet and dance classes primarily for children. However, those plans were brought to an abrupt halt when she was notified by the NYC Department of Planning that zoning regulations prohibited her from opening her arts studio at that location.
The location she selected is designated by city zoning as a “C1-3 lot”, which permits retail and office use only– such as the former “Discount Store.” Dance studios are only permitted to operate in “C2” zones.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer wrote a letter on behalf of Takeno-Williams to city planning officials urging that they help. “I ask that the NYC Department of Planning… explore all necessary avenues in order to provide cultural uses at this location including a dance studio,” the letter dated Aug. 23 read.
Takeno-Williams said that a Queens representative of the NYC Department of Planning is assisting her in discussions with the head of planning. She expects to hear the final word this week.
Her problems emerged after someone complained to city officials that her arts studio, which was scheduled to open mid September, would be contrary to zoning regulations. She was oblivious to the issue at the time.
Takeno-Williams said that the zoning codes block dance studios from operating in much of Sunnyside and that she would have a difficult time finding a similar location in the area (see map).
The whole situation has left Takeno-Williams in a pickle. She will need to get out of the lease if there isn’t a positive resolution—while her landlord is insisting she find a way to stay.
Takeno-Williams said that a Queens representative of the NYC Department of Planning is assisting her in discussions with head of city planning. She expects to hear the final word this week.
In the interim, Takeno-Williams, who operates Sunnyside Ballet, will continue to run it out of the Sunnyside Arts Cooperative, a small space near the 40th Street subway stop at 45-08 40th Street.
Adopted Zoning Map by on Scribd