Two residences allowed on one lot

BSA accepts Buildings’ zoning interpretation of minimum lot area requirement. The Staten Island Borough Commissioner rescinded a stop-work order and approved construction of two, two-story single-family homes on one zoning lot in the Prince’s Bay section of the borough. A civic association in opposition appealed the approval to BSA.

At the BSA hearings, the civic association argued that the project did not meet the 3,800-square-foot minimum lot area requirement set in the City’s zoning code. The developer, Joseph Galante, had proposed two homes on one 7,500-squarefoot zoning lot. The association claimed that both homes needed a 3,800-square-foot area and Galante was 100 sq. ft. short. The association based its argument on the text of the Special South Richmond Development District, which stated that “all residences” must meet the minimum lot area requirements. This position was supported by Council Member Andrew J. Lanza, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and Community Board 3.

Buildings countered that “all residences” referred to all types of residential development, such as multi-family apartments, and not to number. Buildings explained that Galante could build more than one residence on the lot once the 3,800- square-foot minimum was met. Pointing to a code section that allows the Planning Commission to alter the distance requirement between two structures when both are located on the same lot, Buildings asked why this provision would be needed if the civic association’s argument was correct. The Planning Department submitted a letter in Buildings’ support, explaining that the minimum lot area requirement was never intended to apply to each residence on a lot in South Richmond or any other district.

BSA denied the civic association’s appeal, finding that the minimum lot area requirement does not apply to each residence on a zoning lot in the South Richmond District. BSA stated that when it makes decisions interpreting the zoning code, it looks to the entire code rather than one section and looks at past interpretations of the Planning Department and Buildings.

BSA: 5728 Amboy Road (22-05-A) (August 9, 2005) (Dennis Dell’Angelo, for Pleasant Plains, Prince’s Bay, Richmond Valley Civic Association). CITYADMIN

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