First 311, now this? Community Board 13 members are outraged that a Coney Island apartment complex was allowed to complete construction work without getting prior approval from the board. Sea Park West apartments, located at 2930 West 30 Street, received a licensing agreement from the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to restore a dilapidated city-owned lot occupying space in the complexs parking area. The agreement allowed the complex to do the work without going through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which includes presenting details about the project to the local community board. And now with the work complete, the apartments overseers attended last weeks CB 13 meeting to get the boards approval of the project but were met by angry board members who felt left out of the loop. We are the first step of the ULURP process, said CB 13 President Marion Cleaver. If city agencies want to circumvent it, why are we here? Board member Todd Dobrin worried that others might try to skip the official process to push projects along. Can this be used as a precedent? he wondered. Thats a major issue. The board decided to send a letter to HPD and city officials conveying members opposition to sidestepping the ULURP process. Eugene Dixon of HPD explained why Sea Park West, which was undergoing a $30 million renovation, was given permission to complete the work before beginning ULURP procedures, which can take up to a year. The [renovation] project was moving so fast, he said. We didnt want to hold them up. Interestingly, board members had no problems with the work done at Sea Park West. They said the 20-by-60-foot lot was transformed from a rundown area to a pristine green space. I drove by it today. Its a cute little play area, Cleaver said. The work improved the quality of life of building residents, said Pat Singer, president of the Brighton Neighborhood Association. She said the work also allowed for additional parking spaces for residents. Some CB 13 members wanted to quickly approve the work and get on with the board meeting. Kumali Zairee said she didnt understand the big fuss. Its no big deal, she insisted. The bottom line is whats done is done, said Gloria Watkins. People are attacking these people [from Sea Park West] but theyre coming here saying how theyre going to beautify the neighborhood. By a vote of 34 to 6, the board approved the work.
©2007 Community News Group
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