Parking lot approved for Queens residential district

Residential uses found infeasible due to the site’s odd shape and Astoria Boulevard frontage. Showky Kaldawy, owner of four vacant lots in East Elmhurst, sought a variance to allow his residentially-zoned lots to be used as a 33-space accessory parking lot for an adjacent rental car company. Three of the four lots comprising the 17,866 square-foot site front 110th Street, and the fourth fronts Astoria Boulevard, one of Queens’ major commercial arteries.

Kaldawy argued that the site had been used for industrial purposes or as accessory parking for Astoria Boulevard’s manufacturing uses for over 50 years. He stated that the site’s odd shape, its location along Astoria Boulevard and the high cost of remediation rendered residential uses infeasible. Kaldawy submitted studies showing that a small apartment development and three single-family homes would not yield a reasonable return due to East Elmhurst’s low rents and the $150,000 estimated cost to remove 12 gasoline tanks on the site.

BSA requested a study of an apartment building designed under the Planning Department’s Quality Housing Program, which allows an increase in the building size in exchange for an increase in recreational open space and enhanced building services such as on-site laundry. Kaldawy explained that, to meet the increased parking requirements for a Quality Housing project, the resulting apartment building would be forced to front Astoria Boulevard, which would significantly diminish its potential rental income.

BSA approved, finding that the irregular shape of the site and its Astoria Boulevard location made conforming residential uses infeasible. BSA required Kaldawy to install a decorative fence and landscaping and prohibited use of the lot on Sundays.

BSA: 108-24 Astoria Boulevard (63-04- BZ) (May 10, 2005) (Joseph P. Morsellino, for Kaldawy). CITYADMIN

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