November 17, 2009: 2009, Issue 47
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Today’s news:

Medical facility revised

Changes to a proposed medical facility at Astor Avenue were made and submitted to the Board of Standards and Appeals for the second public hearing that was held this week. The new plan was immediately blasted

During the initial BSA hearing held on Tuesday, September 22, the attorneys representing LAL Astor Avenue Management LLC, of which Les Learner is the president, presented plans for a two-story, 9,996 square foot medical facility.

Elected officials, local leaders, and residents spoke up about the impact the facility would have on residents, traffic, the environment and FDNY Engine 97.

The BSA requested the attorneys for Lerner to return on Tuesday, November 10 for a second hearing with additional information. The BSA requested a traffic study and the relocation of the 20 parking spaces closer to the building to increase the barrier between the parking lot and surrounding homes.

The developer’s new plans, submitted to the BSA prior to the hearing, altered the previously proposed facility. The new plans call for an additional floor, decreasing the depth of the building from roughly 154 feet to 107 feet, but still totaling roughly 10,000 square feet.

“This project has been too big from the start, and it’s still too big,” said Councilman Jimmy Vacca. “Going from two stories to three stories shows that the applicant is determined to get this approved any way possible, even though what he is now proposing is even more offensive to the community than the original plan.”

According to the plans submitted, an additional parking space was also added, bringing the total to 21 off-street spaces, and a drive through ramp was added to accommodate deliveries, emergency vehicles, taxis, trash disposal, to avoid impacting Astor Avenue traffic.

A traffic study was also submitted based on a survey of a proposed 14,000 square foot professional/medical office located along Northern Boulevard in Queens. The study concludes the facility would not exceed 200 transit or pedestrian trips during any peak hour.

“Traffic along Astor is a relatively quiet, their traffic accumulation report is from Northern Boulevard, the two streets are just not compatible,” said Frank Tirabasso, local resident. “There are still many unanswered questions that we hope the BSA can extract from the applicant.”

Residents of the area have been meeting weekly at the Allerton Avenue Homeowners & Tenants Association to discuss new plans and strategy for Tuesday’s hearing.

“The plans almost look the same, they shrunk the building, but added another floor,” said Sal Castorina, president of the association. “We were very disappointed. I have letters from Einstein and Montefiore that they do not need the office space now, nor will they need it down the road. We already have plenty of medical facilities.”

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