BSA Allows Use Conversion for New Queens Commercial Building

Todd Dale speaks before the Board of Standards and Appeals. Image credit: BSA

Board noted the conversion would reduce the impact of non-conforming use on the neighborhood. On April 14, 2015 the Board of Standards and Appeals voted to grant 221-16 Merrick Blvd. Associates LLC a special permit to change an existing commercial building at 221-18 Merrick Boulevard in Queens to Use Group 6 retail in conjunction with redeveloping the Merrick Flea Market area.  The proposal would reduce the size of the subject building from 10,600 to 8,176 square feet and replace the existing auto supply stores with retail shops.

On February 10, 2015 the Board held a public hearing on the request, with further hearings on March 10 and March 31. At the February 10 hearing, Todd Dale testified for the applicant that, in addition to modifying the subject building, the proposal would demolish three buildings adjacent to the subject building to increase the number of accessory parking spaces from eighteen to forty-four. Mr. Dale argued the present Use Group 16 was originally a nonconforming use permitted by the Board in 1957, and Zoning Resolution §11-413 permits the Board to allow a change from a nonconforming use to a conforming use. Mr. Dale went on to argue Zoning Resolution §52-34 allows the Board to permit the change to Use Group 6 provided the use change doesn’t impair the surrounding area’s character, future use, or development.  The proposal meets this condition by converting to retail use in an area both historically and presently commercial:  the site is adjacent to the 25,000 square-foot Merrick Flea Market, with retail shops and restaurants all along Merrick Boulevard anchored on a large shopping center where Merrick meets Springfield Boulevard.

On April 14, 2015 the Board voted 4-0 to approve the permit. In its decision, the Board required all construction be completed and a certificate of occupancy be issued within four years of granting the permit, that all signage at the site comply with C2 regulations, and no signage enter the portion of the site zoned R3A.

BSA:  221-18 Merrick Boulevard, Queens (25-57-BZ) (Apr. 15, 2015) (Rothkrug Rothkrug & Spector LLP, for 221-16 Merrick Blvd. Associates, LLC, owner).

By:  Michael Twomey (Michael is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2014).

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