City Island housing development approved


City Island Estates’ proposed residential development on City Island. Image: Courtesy of Lessard Group Architects.

Developer sought height waiver for proposed development abutting Long Island Sound. On October 14, 2009, the City Council approved City Island Estates’ proposal to build a residential development abutting the eastern shore of Long Island Sound at 226 Fordham Place on City Island. The 43-unit project includes 21 two-family, side-by-side, detached residences and one single-family, detached home. Five of the houses will front Fordham Place, and the developer will build the remaining seventeen homes behind Fordham Place along a private internal road accessible from Fordham Street. On the site’s northeast boundary, the developer will also build a promenade with publicly accessible seating and open space.

The developer requested a waiver of the Special City Island District’s 35-foot height requirement in order to build seventeen of the residences up to 41.5 feet in height. It claimed that because these homes would be located within a floodplain on land sloping toward the sound, it could not provide ground floor living space. With the waiver, the developer could instead provide living space on the second and third floors and use the ground floor for garage space. The developer also proposed rezoning the site and an adjacent lot from M1-1 to R3A.

After the City Planning Commission’s public hearing, the developer modified the design to increase view corridors by aligning the five homes along Fordham Place with the seventeen other residences in the development. The Commission approved the proposal but required the developer to record a restrictive declaration precluding it from building more than 43 residential units. 6 CityLand 138 (Oct. 15, 2009).

At the Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee hearing, Fried Frank attorney Melanie Meyers, representing City Island Estates, stated that the developer would be obligated to maintain the public promenade in a “first-class manner,” noting that it would be subject to a maintenance and operations agreement enforced by the Parks Department.

The Subcommittee unanimously approved the application, as did the Land Use Committee and full Council.

Council: On the Sound on City Island (Oct. 14, 2009).

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