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Queens Borough President Helen Marshall has recommended that the citys Board of Standards and Appeals turn down an application by the Bayside Dialysis Center to expand 1,841 square feet into its rear yard unless the center satisfies neighbors concerns about the project.
The center, which has operated at 201-10 Northern Blvd. since 1983, is located on land zoned for commercial use in a residential area.
Barbara Hair, an attorney representing the dialysis center, said at the February meeting of Community Board 11 that the expansion was necessary because the state Health Department had increased the minimum space requirement around each dialysis station from 80 to 120 feet.
Homeowners on 45th Avenue, which abuts the dialysis center, maintained that the center had made it impossible to park on the street, stored medical waste on the street and had scheduled noisy deliveries in the middle of the night.
Community Board 11, which covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens, Hollis Hills and part of Auburndale, voted overwhelmingly against the zoning variance at its February meeting, although the boards land use committee had voted in January to approve the variance.
Howard Hornstein, a partner in the law firm representing the Bayside Dialysis Center, seemed unfazed by Marshalls recommendation, which was signed March 7.
We certainly hoped that the borough president would support the project, but we know that the borough president usually takes the same position as the neighbors, said Hornstein.
In her decision, Marshall stipulated that the Board of Standards and Appeals, which must approve any zoning variance, only do so if the proposed facility ... be redesigned to relocate all service functions (waste removal and deliveries) to the front of the building on Northern Boulevard.
She further asked that the rear of the dialysis center be landscaped and that medical waste be securely sealed and stored to assure that none of it ends up on the streets of the surrounding community.
Hair told the community board that medical waste would be stored indoors in the expanded building.
The borough presidents decision was cautiously welcomed by Mary Carballal, a 45th Avenue resident who has led neighbors in a fight against the centers expansion.
I am happy with the idea that she is disapproving it, said Carballal. However, conditions are not going to change if the parking doesnt get any better.
Carballal said she and other neighbors had attempted to compromise with Hair and the centers administrator, John Steffens, at a January meeting but the two were not receptive.
They were very unwilling and unbending at that point, she said. (Marshall) didnt hear what we heard.
This is not a good neighbor, said board chairman Jerry Iannece of the dialysis center.
Until youve demonstrated to everyone that youre a good neighbor...I dont think we should be in the business of making things better for them.
Hornstein said the dialysis center would look very seriously at Marshalls recommendations, but denied Ianneces charge that the center was a bad neighbor.
I think well be a much better neighbor with the variance, Hornstein said.
The variance is set to come before the Board of Standards and Appeals March 25.
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2003 Community Newspaper Group
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