Today’s news:

Proposed Korean church riles Bayside neighbors

Neighbors of a proposed Korean church in Bayside said they were concerned the structure would be out of character with the rest of the neighborhood, which is composed primarily of one−family homes.

Jesus Covenant Church is planning construction at 26−18 210th St. in Bayside, according to the city Department of Buildings’ records. An alteration of an existing home was originally proposed for the site, but it underwent a change of occupancy and use on March 16.

Residents living close to the property said they believed the church would cause major parking problems on the street.

“It’s already difficult to find parking on the street,” said Cathy Santis, who lives nearby and whose parents live next door to the proposed church. “I understand the need for houses of worship, but they should not infringe on the quality of life for people living there. When you buy a house near a school or church, you know what you’re getting yourself into. But when you buy in a residential neighborhood, it should stay residential.”

Santis said she had been told that an attendant would be on−hand at the church to park cars.

The foundation for the church, an as−of−right project, has already been built.

Frank Skala, president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association, said the civic will hold a meeting on the matter April 21. Both the property’s owner and its neighbors will be invited, he said.

“This has nothing to do with theology but the size of the building and parking,” he said. “It’s a small property and neighbors are upset about congestion, parking and noise. It’s a very quiet street.”

The deed for the property lists Kyung Jin and Kwan Ok Chung as its purchasers, Community Board 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said. The pastor of a Jesus Covenant Church on Francis Lewis Boulevard in Flushing said the two houses of worship were interrelated.

Steve Newman, chairman of CB 11, said the board would attempt to set up a meeting with the owner of the property as well as its architect.

City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) said he had not yet seen plans for the church. Houses of worship typically are forced to provide parking, but the proposed site could get an exemption based on the number of people that would use the church.

“I’ve always stated that I think it’s inappropriate for churches to go into low−density neighborhoods,” he said.

Anthony Naletilic, who lives on the street, said the proposed building is only 5 feet from the property line of one of the homes to which it is adjacent.

Neighbor Chris Arapis said the community was downzoned two years ago, which restricted the number of additions that residents could build on their property.

“My big concern is that our neighborhood was rezoned, which was done because we wanted to stop the building of McMansions,” he said at Monday’s CB 11 meeting. “We were happy to preserve the integrity of our neighborhood. I don’t see how this fits into the character of our neighborhood.”

A spokeswoman for the city Department of Buildings said the project was as−of−right. But she said the agency was currently auditing the application and that the number of required parking spaces for the site would be determined during the process of the review.

Two violations have been issued at the site for an expired fence permit and sidewalk that was broken during demolition, she said. In addition, two stop−work orders have been issued at the site since December, but both have since been lifted, she said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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