Two Queens projects get go ahead despite rezoning

Developers had begun but not completed foundations when the Council approved rezoning proposal. On June 24, 2011, the owner of a corner lot at 64-01 Woodside Avenue in Woodside, Queens obtained a foundation permit to begin construction on a proposed seven-story, 24,022 sq.ft. building with 27 apartments. On July 26, 2011, the owner of two lots at 69- 17 and 69-19 38th Avenue in Woodside obtained building permits to build two four-story buildings with a combined eight apartments.  

On July 28, 2011, the City Council approved the Sunnyside-Woodside Rezoning, which applied contextual zoning districts across 130 blocks in western Queens. The plan rezoned the development sites on Woodside and 38th Avenues from R6 to R5D, rendering the projects out-of-compliance with, among other things, maximum permitted floor area requirements. 8 CityLand 85 (July 15, 2011). Because neither owner had completed the foundations of their projects by the enactment date, the permits lapsed, and Buildings issued stop-work orders. Both owners filed appeals with BSA to complete the buildings. The owner of 64-01 Woodside Avenue claimed to have fully excavated the site and to have poured 28 percent of the foundation’s total concrete.

The owner also claimed it had already expended $400,000 of the project’s total $5 million budget. According to the owner, a complying project would be nearly 11,000 sq.ft. smaller and provide ten less apartments, reducing annual rent income from $713,000 to $316,000.

The owner of the properties on 38th Avenue claimed to have fully excavated both lots and to have completed 47 percent of 69-17 38th Avenue’s foundation and eleven percent of 69-19 38th Avenue’s foundation. The owner also claimed to have expended $237,379 of the entire project’s nearly $1.7 million budget. According to the owner, developing complying buildings would lead to a loss of two units and reduce annual rental income from $147,000 to $93,000.

BSA granted both appeals, finding that the owners had made significant expenditures and performed substantial construction prior to the rezoning. BSA granted the owners two-year extensions to complete the buildings.

BSA: 64-01 Woodside Avenue, Queens (138-11-A) (Dec. 13, 2011); 69-17 & 69-19 38th Avenue, Queens (140-11-A & 141-11-A) (Dec. 13, 2011) (Jordan Most, for both owners).

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