The White House Restaurant, located at 10-24 154th Street, was recently approved to up zone the classification from an R2A zoning to an R3-1/C2-2 zoning at the petition of restaurant owner Joseph Franco. The approval took place during Community Board 7’s monthly meeting on February 14, with a 29 in favor to 6 against vote.
“Sixty-seven percent of the block is already commercial and it makes sense to allow the re-zoning,” said Frank Macchio, third vice-president of Community Board 7. “The fact that the restaurant exists non-conforming is a problem; by changing the zoning to commercial it corrects the problem.”
Some district members have made objections about Franco’s request and the board’s decision and have claimed that changing the restaurant zoning classification would destroy the residential character of the neighborhood. Claims were also made that the up zoning of the restaurant would bring about more noise, pollution and traffic for both the neighborhood and a nearby school.
While others have shown approval, neighbors across the street from the restaurant spoke in favor of the expansion at the meeting and said they support an improved catering hall for their neighborhood.
“I don’t see how the up zoning would affect children in school when catering halls are more occupied in the night and not during school hours,” Raisa Rodriguez of Sunnyside said.
Rodriguez added, “If this was in my neighborhood I would say that it would actually create more good than bad to my neighborhood because it would create more jobs, they will probably need at least five more people to work there.”
The expansion of the restaurant and up zoning of the area would allow for a second floor as a catering area, the use of the curb on 11th Avenue to permit for trucks to load garbage from the restaurant and also parking off the streets.
“The board voted in favor of Mr. Franco because the community and neighbors were included in all the discussions at committee meetings,” said Macchio.