Two Queens four-story buildings grandfathered

BSA ruled that owner made sufficient progress on construction prior to downzoning. In late 2008, Buildings issued permits to Selvakumar Rajaratnam to construct two four-story buildings with seven dwelling units each at 37-45 and 37-47 98th Street in North Corona, Queens. On March 24, 2009, the City Council approved the North Corona 2 rezoning, which rezoned the site from R6B to R5A, and rendered the proposed buildings out-of-compliance with maximum permitted floor area, number of units, and height, setback, yard, and parking requirements. Because the buildings’ foundations had not been completed by the enactment date, the permits lapsed. Rajaratnam filed an appeal with BSA to complete construction.

At a hearing, Rajaratnam submitted affidavits and photographs demonstrating that he had completed 100 percent of the shoring, 40 percent of the excavation, and 49 percent of the foundation work prior to the rezoning. Rajaratnam claimed that he had spent $134,279 on the project prior to the rezoning, which accounted for eleven percent of the project’s $1,198,193 budget. Rajaratnam said that in order to comply with the new zoning, he would need to reduce the number of residential units in the proposed buildings from fourteen to two, which would result in a 77 percent decrease in annual rental income. Queens Community Board 3 opposed the application.

BSA granted the appeal, finding that Rajaratnam had performed substantial construction on the project and that he had made significant expenditures prior to the rezoning.

BSA also found that Rajaratnam’s irrecoverable expenditures, coupled with the decreased level of economic return if the project was limited to its current zoning, constituted a serious economic loss.

BSA: 37-45 & 37-47 98th Street (228-09- A & 229-09-A) (Nov. 24, 2009) (Jordan Most, Sheldon Lobel PC, for Rajaratnam). CITYADMIN

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.