By Nathan Duke
The owner of the former Seville Diner’s property can continue renovating the Northern Boulevard building for a sushi buffet restaurant now that the city Board of Standards and Appeals has approved a variance for the site last week, said Susan Seinfeld, Community Board 11’s district manager.
In March, CB 11 voted 32-10 in favor of a 15-year variance for the Douglaston property, but only on the condition that flooding in the lot’s southwest corner should be remediated, the area in front of the building should be landscaped, a dumpster should be placed at the rear of the property and that the new restaurant’s closing time should be 1 a.m.
It was unclear whether the BSA held the property’s owner to those same standards when it approved a variance for the site last week.
“As long as he has the building permits for what he wants to do, which is mostly internal, then he can proceed,” Seinfeld said of the project.
The diner, which opened in the mid-1970s and closed several years ago, was at 231-10 Northern Blvd. in Douglaston near the Alley Pond Environmental Center.
The site’s current owner plans to open a sushi buffet and Asian fusion restaurant called Mizumi, but there is currently no opening date for the restaurant.
Seinfeld said the owner had applied for a liquor license, but a number of plumbing problems at the site still needed to be addressed.
“There’s been a concern about flooding,” she said. “[CB 11] voted yes for the project, but said the flooding should be mitigated.”
Planned work for the site includes a new facade with a 4-foot extension at the top for decorative purposes as well as interior work, such as the construction of a new kitchen and renovated plumbing.
Some Douglaston leaders said the parking lot in the property’s southwest corner dips, causing the entire lot to flood when it rains. In addition, oily residue collects in the lot and washes into the wetlands, which are close to Alley Pond Park and Alley Creek, said Eliott Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association.
The building’s owner, Ching Kuo Chiang, could not be reached for comment.
The developer previously went before CB 11 for approval to add a second floor to the building, but the board rejected the proposal.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.