Odd lot shape and street frontage justified variance

Development site is former Queens cemetery. Queens developer, AMF Machine Corporation, applied to BSA to construct a 201,633-squarefoot, 96-foot tall mixed-use building with 174 residential units in Corona, Queens. The proposed structure exceeded height limits by 46 feet and floor area limits by over 77,550 sq.ft. The development site, an oddly shaped, 14-sided, 62,041- square-foot lot, had street frontage along Corona Avenue and 90th Street, but a majority of the lot’s area stretched behind existing homes. The rear of the lot faced a LIRR right-of-way.

In support of its variance, AMF argued that the additional height and floor area would compensate for the added construction costs caused by the irregular lot. AMF also claimed that proximity to the LIRR, and the long corridors required by the site’s odd shape would significantly decrease the residential units’ value.

Queens Community Board 4 and neighborhood residents opposed, complaining that the building would overwhelm the two-story buildings adjacent to the site and any development on the site would potentially disturb remains from a Colonial-era cemetery once located on the site.

At the first hearing, BSA advised the developer to reduce the project size. The developer reduced the project twice, finally submitting a design with a total floor area of 166,136 sq.ft. with 138 housing units, a total building height of 92 feet, and a 42-foot height along Corona Avenue and 90th Street.

AMF also explained that it met with Landmarks and would complete an archaeological study during construction to address possible recovery of remains on the site.

BSA approved, emphasizing that due to the reduced height along the street frontages, the overall project would not negatively impact the area’s character.

BSA: 90-15 Corona Avenue (47-05-BZ) (Nov. 14, 2006) (Cozen O’Connor, for AMF). CITYADMIN

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