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New building irks Baysiders

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Bayside community leaders said they were concerned that a five-story mixed-use building being developed on Bell Boulevard is out of character with the neighborhood and could create parking problems.

The building, at 34-38 Bell Blvd. in Bayside, has been given four stop-work orders since June 2007, but the project is as-of-right, which means that the developer does not need to go before the city's Department of Buildings or Community Board 11 for approval.

The building will feature a garage with spaces for 22 cars, first-floor offices, space for medical offices on its second floor and dwelling units on its top three floors, said Susan Seinfeld, the Community Board 11 district manager.

"The building has a colorful history and interesting occupancy plans," said Seinfeld, who described the property's look as a "wedding cake" because of its tiers.

Little Neck architect Philip Toscano, who co-owns the property, could not be reached for comment.

The building has received 10 complaints since its construction began in June 2007 and four stop-work orders have been issued at the site, a DOB spokeswoman said.

The DOB has issued two violations to the project, including a June 2007 citation after construction took place at the site without proper permits and another in February after the stop-work order was violated.

The city's Environmental Control Board also issued two violations at the site, including an October 2007 citation for failure to comply with safety requirements and another in February after workers at the site could not provide complete plans for the project to inspectors.

The building is located in a residential R4 zone, which allows for two-family homes. But the site includes a commercial overlay, which would permit offices and businesses to share space with residential units, Seinfeld said.

Frank Skala, president of the East Bayside Homeowner's Association, said he was concerned that the building could cause parking problems in a neighborhood already plagued by a lack of spaces.

"There's almost no parking there now," he said of the building's site. "Bayside needs this type of development like a third armpit. I've lived here for 68 years and I've watched Bell Boulevard change over time. This could be an example of what could happen in the future and I don't think it's a good example."

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:37 pm, October 10, 2011
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