City brings plans for roof parking in Flushing to halt

City brings plans for roof parking in Flushing to halt
Photo by Joe Anuta
By Joe Anuta

The city has shot down a grocer’s plan to put a parking lot on the roof of his store in parking-starved downtown Flushing.

The owners of New York Mart, at the corner of Bowne Street and Roosevelt Avenue, sought permission from the city to turn their roof into a lot that would hold 49 cars. But the city Board of Standards and Appeals recently denied the request, TimesLedger Newspapers learned.

“We thought the application was worthy of an approval, we thought we met all the findings of the relevant section of the law and we spent a lot of time working with the community,” said Eric Palatnik, the attorney representing the supermarket owners. “It was something that the community wanted.”

The BSA confirmed that the application had been denied, but has not yet written a report detailing the reasons for turning down the application, known as a special permit. Palatnik said his client is considering all options in the wake of the decision. One of those options would be to appeal the BSA’s ruling, according to board policy.

Parking in Flushing has always been at a premium, according to Community Board 7 Chairman Gene Kelty.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “People come to shop or eat and there is not ample parking.”

And the denial comes at a time when visitors are scrambling for a shrinking inventory of parking spaces downtown. Portions of Municipal Lot 1, a key parking hub for the downtown area, are currently being used to store construction equipment for a new housing development undertaken by Macedonia AME Church.

The grocery owners began the application process nearly a year ago. Before the BSA makes a determination, it takes into consideration recommendations from community boards and the borough president.

In October, the owners presented plans to CB 7, which voted to approve the application on several conditions.

The owners had agreed to provide safeguards to stop headlights from shining into the second-floor windows of nearby residents, and to ensure that only grocery store customers could park there, for example.

An engineer had inspected the building and determined that it could support the weight of the cars, according to the owners and Palatnik.

The owners had planned to rip off the roof, lay down more steel beams and then pour the concrete again in order to successfully convert the building.

The application was then approved by Borough President Helen Marshall before moving on to the BSA.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.