Conversion of apartments to dormitory use approved

Twelve residential buildings to be converted to dorms over opposition. St. John’s University proposed to convert 12 three-unit apartment buildings into dormitories, increasing the potential student occupancy from 108 to 162. St John’s currently uses the buildings, located along Union Turnpike in Flushing, Queens, as apartments for its students. The plan called for no alteration or enlargement to the buildings; however the use change would render the buildings noncompliant with the City’s 15-foot yard requirement, triggering the need for a variance.

The 12 buildings sit on a 25,309-square-foot portion of a 36- acre lot that also contains Parkway Village, a 34-acre housing cooperative with 109 buildings. To apply for the variance, St. John’s needed consent from all co-owners of the lot, which was refused. St. John’s applied anyway, arguing that it should qualify for a consent waiver. Ultimately, the Parkway Village Tenants’ Association, Queens Community Board 8 and the Parkway Village Preservation Society opposed, raising concerns about the impacts of future redevelopment of St. John’s site.

St. John’s argued that BSA should waive the consent requirement because the parties recorded a restriction on the Parkway Village buildings at the completion of its construction, requiring its owners to cooperate with the redevelopment of St. John’s site. St. John’s also argued that it was impractical to move all 12 buildings back five feet to make the existing ten-foot yard space compliant.

BSA agreed, granting the consent waiver and the variance. Noting that the plan included no new construction, BSA found that it could not have a tangible impact on nearby uses.

BSA: 147-04 Union Turnpike (240-06- BZ) (April 10, 2007). CITYADMIN

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