Commercial building allowed in SI special district

Applicant claimed that a conforming residential development would not yield a reasonable return given the lot’s irregular shape, location, and sloping grade. Joseph Maza applied to BSA for a variance to build a one-story commercial building with 21 accessory parking spaces at 4553 Arthur Kill Road in Charleston, a Staten Island neighborhood located just north of the Outerbridge Crossing. The site was located within the Special South Richmond Development District, a district established in 1975 to guide the development of the southern portion of Staten Island. The proposal required a variance since Maza intended the building to be occupied by retail stores, which are prohibited within the R3-2 residential zoning district.

Maza claimed that the lot’s irregular triangle shape made it difficult to construct a conforming residential development, and that the lot’s 15-ft. upward slope, beginning at its Arthur Kill Road frontage, would increase sewer line installation costs. The proposed commercial development avoided these added costs since an on-site septic system would be utilized, eliminating the need for a new 700-ft. sewer line. Maza also claimed that a nearby 87,000 sq.ft. bus depot would render the site unmarketable for residential use given the depot’s task of servicing several hundred buses daily, seven days a week. The depot, Maza added, would increase traffic around Arthur Kill Road, a 60- ft. wide arterial road that provided access to New Jersey by way of the Outerbridge Crossing. The traffic-choked road, which touched the site, would further lessen the prospect of successfully marketing a conforming residential development.

BSA granted the variance, finding that Maza could not develop a conforming residential development without suffering unnecessary hardship because of sewer installation costs, the lot’s irregular shape, and its undesirable location. BSA also determined that the commercial building would not alter the neighborhood’s fundamental character since the site was located immediately west of an M1-1 district where commercial development was permitted as-of-right.

BSA: 4553 Arthur Kill Road (223-08-BZ) (March 3, 2009). CITYADMIN

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