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Little Neck Korean church to finish work by April ’03

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The Whitestone contractor for a three-story, 20,000-square-foot Korean church in Little Neck said this week he hopes the project will be done by April 2003 despite significant delays imposed by the city Buildings Department.

Work on a new house of worship for the Flushing congregation of the Eunhae Presbyterian Church began in May 2001 and originally was expected to be finished in one year. Construction was halted for nine months by the city Buildings Department last year after neighbors of the 249th Street project and Community Board 11 in Little Neck raised questions about parking in the area and the size of the proposed church.

In December, the city lifted a stop-work order first imposed on the project in June 2001, giving the Whitestone-based contractor Eugene Chi of Kang Suk Construction the green light to proceed.

In a telephone interview Monday, Chi acknowledged that his project had been slapped with yet another stop-work order last week, but he said he hopes to overcome the delays.

“It’s not a major thing,” Chi said of the latest Buildings Department stop-work order. “I hope it’s done before the coming Easter. We try our best.”

Chi said he expected the latest stop-work order, imposed by the city last Thursday, to be lifted as early as Tuesday.

Buildings Department spokeswoman Ilyse Fink this week said the developer had been cited for doing work not included in its plans. Chi said the work involved shoring up the building’s foundation.

The Eunhae Presbyterian Church has been on Farrington Street in Flushing for 10 years and sought out a new location because its lease ended in December 2001. The Farrington Street church was a large, one-story brick building with no steeple and a small parking lot.

Critics of the plan voiced concerns about a lack of parking in the neighborhood and the project’s proximity to nearby homes and businesses. Many residents and community leaders also cited the three-story, 20,000-square-foot size of the building, which is being constructed in an area of two-story homes and commercial properties, as overwhelming.

The property at 43-37 249th St. stretches behind stores and the Little Neck-Douglaston public library to Marathon Parkway. The lot, which also takes in land facing Northern Boulevard, is split between a residential and commercial zone.

The church agreed to make some changes in its construction plans after the city imposed its nine-month work stoppage last year.

The Eunhae Presbyterian Church supplemented the originally planned 32 parking spots with valet parking and the rental of an additional 26-space parking lot behind a nearby store, architect Wallace Kubec said in December.

In addition to providing a second parking lot, the church agreed last year to shift a planned 12-foot spire — which then-CB 11 Chairman Bernard Haber said would make the height of the building equivalent to seven -stories — closer to Northern Boulevard and the commercial side of the lot, Kubec said.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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