BSA holds contentious hearing on Breezy Pt. permits

Adjacent neighbor challenges legality of new home construction on cooperative’s land. On March 20, 2007, BSA held a contentious public hearing on an appeal of demolition and new building permits to construct a single-family home in Breezy Point, Queens, located at the western end of the Rockaway Peninsula.

In the early 1900s, New Yorkers started building small, summer bungalows in Breezy Point on land owned by the state. In 1960, Breezy’s predominantly summer residents formed a cooperative to purchase the land from the Atlantic Improvement State Corporation. At the time, the Breezy Point Cooperative surveyed the land and its summer bungalows, leasing “plots” back to residents who paid yearly maintenance, security and other costs. Breezy now contains over 3,500 homes, and each year more residents convert their summer bungalows to year-round homes.

In May 2006, Thomas Carroll, a year-round resident since 1957, received permits to demolish his deteriorated bungalow and build a new home on his 1,944-square-foot leased parcel at 607 Bayside Drive. An adjacent Breezy resident, Supreme Court Judge James Golia and his wife, appealed, arguing, among other things, that the Department of Buildings could not consider the plot as a separate zoning lot, and that the home’s design violated requirements for rear yard, front yard, parking and distance between buildings. Golia also delayed the project at Buildings and obtained a court-issued restraining order. During this time, 93-year-old Carroll remained without a place to live.

At the March 20th BSA hearing, Golia’s attorney, Irving Mitkin, stressed that Carroll’s plot could not be considered a separate zoning lot under the zoning resolution since it was not owned separately and individually from adjoining Breezy parcels. Buildings’ attorney Angelina Martinez-Rubio responded to each of Mitkin’s technical arguments, stating that Buildings and BSA treated each parcel as a zoning lot as it existed in the 1960 survey, and that Carroll’s new home complied with rear yard, parking and distance between building limitations. Buildings had one open issue: front yard compliance.

Breezy residents, who hired a bus to attend the hearing, along with a representative of the Cooperative and Carroll’s daughter all testified to Buildings’ long-standing policy and the hardship this appeal placed on Carroll. The residents said that Golia, as a former Assistant Commissioner at Buildings, an engineer at the Queens’ Buildings office and an executive assistant to the Queens Borough President, knew the system and decision makers. Golia’s argument ultimately impinged on every Breezy plot.

BSA asked for additional submissions and set the next hearing for May 15, 2007.

Hearing on 607 Bayside Drive, Queens (229-06-A), March 20, 2007.

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