2006-02-10 / Community

Beach 4 Street Developer Seeks To Continue Work Despite Downzone

By Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor

Beach 4 Street Developer Seeks To Continue Work Despite Downzone

Attorney Lyra Altman explains why her client feels he should be allowed to continue the buildings he started before the September 15, 2005 downzone of the Mott Creek area. Attorney Lyra Altman explains why her client feels he should be allowed to continue the buildings he started before the September 15, 2005 downzone of the Mott Creek area. In a new twist to the Mott Creek

downzoning story, a lawyer for a developer on Beach 4 Street went before

Community Board 14's Land Use

Committee on Tuesday to ask that construction

on two homes be allowed to

resume despite the new law to downzone

the area that took effect on

September 15. Lyra Altman, of the law firm Frederick

A. Becker, told The Wave that an

Administrative Appeal application

was filed on behalf of developer Matt Probkevitz. "My client believed he was vested... two months after the downzoning he

was notified he was no longer considered

vested," Altman said. "This is a common law case based on the amount of money spent and the percentage of completion prior to the downzoning."

Altman told the committee members that as of September 15, stop work orders were issued by the Department of Buildings to other developers whose projects in Mott Creek were not yet vested.

Using a map of the two-house development, Land Use committee member Harvey Rudnick (left) asks developer Matt Probkevitz a question abut the Beach 4 Street construction. Using a map of the two-house development, Land Use committee member Harvey Rudnick (left) asks developer Matt Probkevitz a question abut the Beach 4 Street construction. "They did not stop my client, and he was assured [verbally] by Madgi Mossad [then the commissioner of the Queens Department of Buildings] that he was vested," continued Altman, saying that it was this assurance that led Probkevitz to continue construction.

Also at issue is the 30-day appeal process available to developers after rezoning that Probkevitz missed because of the vested assurance. "The 30-day window to appeal was taken away from my client," Altman told the committee. "The Department of Buildings waited two months before they told him he wasn't vested."

Of the two houses being built, Altman said that the foundation is 100 percent in on the larger home, yet the other is only partially in. She said her client has spent approximately $190,000 so far on the project.

Tracy Conroy, who lives across from the construction on Beach 4 Street, shows photos of the construction to a member of the Land Use committee. Tracy Conroy, who lives across from the construction on Beach 4 Street, shows photos of the construction to a member of the Land Use committee. In answer to committee member's questions, Altman said it was possible her client was aware of the community being against the building and continued construction anyway.

"I can't tell you what [my client] knew five months ago," Altman answered. "He wasn't my client then."

She also denied any claims that the foundations of the homes were poured before permits were obtained.

Fran Tuccio and Tracy Conroy, speaking for the group of Mott Creek residents, disputed Altman's claims that the construction was vested. The two residents said they had proof the pilings and foundations were put in before permits were received and the new zoning law went into effect.

Altman also explained to committee member Delores Orr why one permit was needed for demolition and two for construction.

"We sat with the Board of Standards and Appeals and they asked us to split the lot into two," explained Altman, who also told The Wave that it was previously one home.

The full board is expected to take up the issue and vote on the application at their next monthly meeting, February 14, at the Knights of Columbus.

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