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Overwhelming NO! on City Island assisted living plan

Bronx Times

The man behind a proposed assisted living facility for City Island got an overwhelming NO! from local residents at hearing last week.

Dr. Domenico Mignone is president of the non-profit Italian Hospital Society, which is seeking a zoning variance from the city Board of Standards and Appeals to build the 214-unit assisted living and senior residence at City Island Avenue and Schofield Street.

But he heard near unanimous community testimony opposing the project at a public hearing hosted by Community Board 10 and its Housing and Zoning Committee on Thursday, Nov. 29th, before a standing-room-only crowd at the City Island Community Center.

The project was opposed on the basis of everything from what some believe is the negating of the Special City Island District enacted more than three decades ago to what many residents felt was the high-density of the project. As currently proposed, it would be almost two and half times City Island’s commercial and industrial use requirements. “I was not surprised,” Mignone said, just after two separate votes by the Housing and Zoning Committee to not support a zoning variance.

Mignone, however, questioned the legitimacy of testimony offered at the hearing. “I don’t believe the people in this room reflect the community,” he said. “I know many of them, and they weren’t represented here.”

But district manager Kenneth Kearns said he thought the meeting was successful for the board’s purposes.

“We got to do what we needed to do, which was to vote publicly about what to do,” said Kearns. “The way the resolution was worded was that it actually supported the concept in two areas, and they turned it down, almost unanimously. There was no positive votes at all, the only non-negative votes were abstentions.”

Much of the testimony offered by islanders centered around the proposed site at 222 City Island Avenue while not waterfront land, being in ‘a special flood hazard area’ as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Evacuating all 214 residential units of this assisted living facility would be extremely challenging,” said City Island Civic Association board member John Doyle. “After Sandy, we heard about individuals living in adult homes in the Rockaways who were transported to temporary facilities. Many of them are still in limbo. Let’s not create more of those kinds of situations.”

Preliminary plans for the building keep changing, but according to the paperwork dated September 4 by Italian Hospital Society attorney Jordan Most, there would be 200 assisted living efficiency apartments and 14 senior housing apartments.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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