2006-02-17 / Community

Community Board 14 Denies Beach 4 St. Developer’s Bid

By Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor

By Miriam Rosenberg
Contributing Editor

Altman inspects photos taken by board member Harvey Rudnick of the construction site that shows a wall not on the plans.
Altman inspects photos taken by board member Harvey Rudnick of the construction site that shows a wall not on the plans.

Community Board 14 Tuesday night shot down a developer who wants to continue building in the Mott Creek area of Far Rockaway despite a recent down-zoning aimed at stopping projects like his dead in their tracks.

The publicized down-zoning had developers racing to get their foundations poured before the deadline, which came in September.

“He got in the entire foundation,” the developer’s attorney, Lyra Altman, said of the property on Beach 4 Street. “The only thing left was 30 cubic yards of concrete [to be poured] on the smaller site.”

Altman filed the appeal on behalf of developer Matt Probkevitz on the grounds of “the amount of money and time spent and how far the project had gotten.”

Altman also said that her client, after the down-zoning, continued work on the site because the former commissioner of the Queens Department of Buildings, Madgi Mossad, said the project was vested and therefore unaffected by the down-zoning. Two months later, Altman said, the DOB notified Probkevitz that he is not vested. Altman requested that the project be allowed to continue under the old zoning regulations.

Attorney Lyra Altman explains the layout of the construction site during her presentation to the community board.
Attorney Lyra Altman explains the layout of the construction site during her presentation to the community board. Members of CB14 peppered Altman with questions, asking why the construction should be allowed to continue.

“If the situation were reversed and we came to you 20 minutes before the down-zone, you would have told us to go fly a kite?” board member Jeffrey Cohen asked Altman.

“I don’t know that we would have told you to fly a kite, but the [Department of Buildings] would not have stopped it,” said Altman.

“Now given the fact that the down-zone was before you were vested, we’re in a position to say it to you. Is that correct?” Cohen continued.

“Once again you wouldn’t say it and we wouldn’t say it to you,” replied Altman.

“As a board we have to take a stand to say we don’t want this over-development. The law says you lost,” said Michael Tubridy, a member of CB 14.“As a board we have to take a stand to say we don’t want this over-development. The law says you lost,” said Michael Tubridy, a member of CB 14. CB14 Land Use Committee co-chair Michael Tubridy said, “As a board we have to take a stand to say we don’t want this over-development. The law says you lost. Go to the Supreme Court.”

Also, board member Harvey Rudnick presented Altman with photos showing what appears to be a wall on the site that was not in the plans, which she pledged to look into.

Al Moore, the other co-chair of the Land Use Committee, responded to Altman’s comment to the board that they must vote according to the law. “I would agree with the attorney for the builder that we must vote according to the law and I think the law says that if the foundation is not in, then the building cannot continue,” he said. “There’s no way what was proposed there is what they built,” continued Moore, who was at the site on Tuesday and saw with his own eyes the wall in Rudnick’s photos.

Altman hastily left the meeting after the board voted. She refused to speak to a Wave reporter.

Land Use co-chair Al Moore (right) and attorney Lyra Altman during an exchange at the meeting.Land Use co-chair Al Moore (right) and attorney Lyra Altman during an exchange at the meeting. The issue will go before Borough President Helen Marshall within 30 days and then on to the Board of Standards and Appeals.

“I would expect that the borough president would support our recommendation,” said CB14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska. The BSA, he said, remains a “wildcard.”

The Land Use Committee will also hear from another developer whose project was halted by the down-zoning. That meeting will take place at Peninsula Hospital Center on Tuesday, February 28, 7 p.m.

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