CB 7 rejects applications for mosque, metal company

By Madina Toure

Community Board 7 turned down an application for a mosque to be built on Parsons Boulevard and disapproved another by a manufacturer seeking to expand its facility in College Point.

The board unanimously denied an application by not-for-profit Masjid-e-Noor to build a mosque at 46-05 Parsons Blvd. on the grounds that it did not fit the character of the neighborhood amid concerns about the building’s architectural integrity. The board tabled a vote on the proposal in January.

The issue is more than just the application not matching the character of the neighborhood, according to Chuck Apelian, CB 7’s first vice chairman.

Apelian said that more congregants would be attending the mosque than the group anticipates.

“There is great doubt and concern about the integrity of the presentation and the need of their program spaces for this site,” Apelian said.

Concerns included the group’s request for bulk waivers to exceed the maximum community facility floor area allowed in the property’s zoning district, which is designated for residential housing.

The developers also sought to change the mandated floor area ratio of 0.5 in the R2 district — zoned for single-family homes — to 1.045, cut down two trees and waive the yard and parking requirements to address the property’s irregular shape.

The property is an oddly shaped 4,773-square-foot corner lot, according to an Aug. 22 statement of facts and findings prepared for the city Board of Standards and Appeals by Simons & Wright. The group anticipated the mosque would serve about 420 worshipers, 95 percent of whom live in the mosque’s 11355 zip code.

Two floors would house the prayer rooms, one for 210 men and the other for 210 women because they pray separately. On weekends, the imam or the religious scholars would hold Quranic classes to teach roughly 100 students.

Board member Tyler Cassell, a member of the land use committee, said the committee voted to deny the application, but he proposed an alternative.

The Mormon Church on 144-27 Sanford Ave., whose site contains a six-story apartment building with 13,300 square feet and a parking lot for about 25 vehicles, is moving to a different site and could accommodate the mosque’s needs, Cassell said.

“They’re very interested in looking at this site as a possibility,” Cassell said.

Masjid-e-Noor was not at the meeting. The group’s attorney, Emily Simons, told board members and residents the group was unable to make the changes requested by the community. In January, a representative for the group said they would consider addressing community concerns or pursue other legal options.

“An extensive analysis was done of the existing plan and it was found that there was just nothing that could be done to accommodate,” Simons said.

The board also voted 33-3 to deny an application by S&L Aerospace Metals at 120-12 28th Ave. in College Point seeking to buy two lots from the city to expand its facility. One lot is owned by the city Economic Development Corporation and the other is owned by the city of New York.

In 2010, the CoFire Asphalt Company acquired land via a land swap in College Point. The company was supposed to take care of the site, but failed to do so, according to Apelian.

S&L Aerospace wanted to construct a 24,000-square-foot building which received approval through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which is the formal city public review process for land use changes. The new building would be situated adjacent to the company’s current building, which is 42,000 square feet.

The company has 85 employees and said the expanded facility would create more than 20 jobs.

Board members who voted against denying the application thought the decision was unfairly punishing S&L Aerospace. The decision was meant to punish the EDC, not S&L Aerospace, Apelian said.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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