It’s nothing personal; it’s just business.
While acknowledging they were on good terms with the owners of Glendale’s Yeshiva Godolah Seminary (YGS), Community Board 5’s (CB 5) Land Use Committee recommended on Monday that the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) deny the yeshiva’s application for a zoning variance.
The YGS seeks the variance to allow the seminary located at 74-10 88th St. to build an extension that would combine the two buildings on the campus into one four-story building. The project would also add dormitories and bathrooms for the 1,050 students who attend the facility.
“I think the community as a whole is extremely uncomfortable with how we got to this point and why we got to this point with a lack of transparency,” said CB 5 member Kathy Masi.
Committee members contend that when the building opened in 2006, the yeshiva was allowed to put dormitory space in the building when living quarters are not permitted within the M1-1 zone where the yeshiva is located, without approaching CB 5.
“The number one concern that has been related me is that [the YGS] seem to have gotten the ability to put a dorm there which was entirely against any kind of zoning regulations,” said Walter Sanchez, chair of the Land Use Committee. “We’re not sure how that happens without coming to the community board first.”
Jay Goldstein, the lawyer who represents the YGS, assured the committee that the yeshiva is operating in compliance with their Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).
“We have a C of O, again this was fully reviewed; this was not a self-certified job in 2006, there is a temporary C of O and a C of O that both reference the dormitories,” Goldstein said. “The Department of Buildings has come into the building and inspected the building and seen the dormitories, and they said … no violation warranted, it’s operating based off the C of O.”
The committee also believes that placing additional bathrooms and dormitory space in the facility will adversely affect the neighborhood’s infrastructure, mainly the water and sewage lines, where the zoning permits no residences.
The full community board will hear the Land Use Committee’s recommendation at its Oct. 14 meeting and make a recommendation of its own before sending it off to the BSA, which has the final say in granting the variance.