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Bayside resident complains of overbuilding – QNS.com

Bayside resident complains of overbuilding

By Ayala Ben-Yehuda and CYNTHIA Koons

A Baysider living near a house under construction has asked elected officials to intervene in the project, which he said is too large and violates zoning requirements.

But both the city Buildings Department and the house’s architect said this week that the project’s plans comply with the zoning code.

Neighbors first noticed last fall that construction had begun on a vacant lot at 36-13 210th St., said nearby resident Brixton Doyle.

“Everyone’s screaming about overdevelopment,” said Doyle, who moved to Bayside from Manhattan.

Doyle, a graphic designer, obtained a plot plan for the site that showed the proposed two-story structure with a cellar was to measure 27 by 58.75 feet.

The plans also took advantage of a zoning law that allows the first floor to be exempted from the total square footage count of a building because it contains a garage and other “accessory uses” such as a recreation room — not bedrooms.

But Doyle said his own measurements of the site found that the foundation of the new house measured 27 by 60 feet, a size he said violated open space requirements.

He also did not believe the first floor would be used only for accessory uses and argued that the exemption was to blame for several outsized new houses in the area.

“The reason they’re that big is because of this damn exemption,” said Doyle, who brought his concerns to state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside).

Doyle said he has not received a satisfactory explanation from the Buildings Department through the elected officials as to how the new Bayside house complied with all the conditions required to write off the first floor.

“It’s so infuriating,” he said.

Buildings Department spokeswoman Ilyse Fink said the project’s plans were in compliance with the zoning code.

“The only work that is in there is the foundation right now,” Fink said. “We haven’t found anything that looks like it’s not going according to the plans.

“The site was locked the last couple times we went, but we didn’t find any cause for violation,” said Fink, adding that the Buildings Department would not measure the property.

The building’s owner, Ilias Theodoropoulos of Millennium Contractors, could not be reached for comment. But the building’s architect, John Stacom, said his structure had been reviewed by the Buildings Department several times and “meets the requirements.”

“When the job is finished, the contractor will call the Department of Buildings for inspection,” Stacom said. “It has to be window for window, door to door, room for room.”

The architect said the first-floor plans contained no bedrooms but had a garage, laundry room, large recreation room and half bathroom.

“Neither I nor anyone else can speculate on what they will do later,” Fink said. “We deal with fact, not speculation.”

Padavan said in a statement “it’s important that building plans are scrutinized to make sure zoning regulations are being properly followed. Current zoning laws are one of the best weapons we have against overdevelopment and for ensuring reasonable rates of growth throughout Queens.”

Avella, who was scheduled to hold a news conference about the construction Friday morning, said of Doyle “he’s done his homework and I can’t get an answer out of the city on whether he’s right or wrong.

“We’ve been trying to get answers from the Department of Buildings and City Planning,” Avella said. “They’re taking a little too long, and the longer they take the more the building goes up.”

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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