Today’s news:

Astor Avenue medical facility saga drags on

by amanda marinaccio

The fight over the medical facility proposed for 1464 Astor Avenue continued at a fourth Board of Standards and Appeals hearing.

Unresolved issues regarding traffic flow and Engine Company 97 pushed the matter to a yet another date.

On Tuesday, February 9 at 40 Rector Street in Manhattan, to the BSA reexamined the plans for a three-story, 10,000 square foot medical facility designed by developer Les Learner of LAL Astor Avenue Management.

BSA commissioners raised concerns about Lerner’s traffic study, as well as estimated numbers of patients and employees. They asked Lerner to submit more data to justify the estimates.

“This developer has submitted traffic numbers that defy logic,” Councilman Jimmy Vacca said. “Their predictions for how many patients and employees will visit this site on a daily basis are completely out of touch with reality and the BSA had every right to ask how these numbers were reached. I continue to believe that when the applicant is forced to be truthful as to the impact this facility will have on the surrounding community, the BSA will see the wisdom in reducing its size.”

Prompted by Senator Jeff Klein, Fire Department Battalion Commander Chief Keith Cartica testified to concerns that increased traffic flow would damage Engine Company 97 operations and lengthen response times. “I am pleased my office was able to work with the FDNY in coming together for this very important hearing,” Klein said. “I urge the Board of Standards and Appeals to consider the FDNY’s concerns when making its decision.”

BSA commissioners again urged Lerner to investigate whether planned curb cuts would infringe on a fire safety zone and how increased traffic flow would impact Engine Company 97.

Astor Avenue neighbors, Community Board 11 members and representatives of Councilman Jimmy Vacca and the Allerton Avenue Homeowners & Tenants Association also testified.

A group of neighbors has hired a traffic expert from Nelson Nygaard Consulting Associates to review Lerner’s plans, Eastchester Road resident Anjali Kochar said.

“The consulting firm said there are concerns that they think need further study before the BSA can make any determination,” Kochar said. “We will continue our job, which is to do what we need to, to make sure our voices are heard.”

Kochar asked that anyone who’d like to help the group of neighbors pay for the consultant contact her at (718) 519-7884 or anjalikochar@hotmail.com.

Lerner’s attorney, Adam Rothkrug of Rothkrug Rothkrug & Spector, was unavailable as of press time, but has stated that Lerner has already and will continue to cooperate with requests made by neighbors and the BSA.

A fifth BSA hearing on the facility will be held on Tuesday, March 16.

Reach reporter Amanda Marinaccio at (718) 742-3994 or amarinaccio@cnglocal.com

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