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City Island living facility downsized

Bronx Times

A controversial proposed assisted living facility on City Island has been downsized, but it still may not be enough to satisfy the community.

The City Island Civic Association has vowed to continue its legal challenge to a developer who is seeking a zoning variance before the city Board of Standards and Appeals to build an assisted living facility at the corner of Schofield Street and City Island Avenue, said CICA president Bill Stanton.

The BSA had asked the developer, the Italian Hospital Society led Dr. Domenico Mignone, this past spring to go back to the drawing board with what was then a proposed 212-bed facility.

A new proposal, currently under review by Community Board 10 and a CICA lawyer, involves design changes that reduce the number of beds by roughly 30% and sets the building back from the street, said CICA board member Barbara Dolensek, who has seen the plans.

“The FAR (Floor to Area Ratio) is still much greater than other City Island buildings,” she said, adding that the community is concerned that if a zoning variance is granted, the developer could use that variance to build something besides an assisted living facility, as long as it is of the same size.

Whenever the Italian Hospital Society was offered alternate locations, the developer remained “fixated” on the Schofield Street location, said Stanton.

At the Community Board 10 housing and zoning committee meeting at the board office on Wednesday, Oct. 9, board members said that they have not changed their position on the development.

That same position was echoed by Community Board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns.

“The attorneys for the Italian Hospital Society have forwarded a document containing responses to a series of questions posed by the BSA,” said Kearns.

“In that document, currently under review, there is commentary about the plans. The Board’s original stance against the project, is constant, consistent and is a matter of public record.”

Before the public outcry by many City Islanders about the proposal, Senator Jeff Klein had agreed to provide $1 million in state funding for the Italian Hospital Society project to build an assisted living facility.

But given the uproar over the plans, Klein has since pulled that state funding, and his support for the project.

“I do not support this project in any way, shape or form,” said Klein.

Dr. Mignone did not return a phone call requesting comment.

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

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