232nd St. residents upset over mysterious building

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Residents of an enclave that straddles Springfield Gardens and Rosedale live near the Nassau County border relatively far from all signs of city life at the edge of Brookville Park.

But a construction project on 232nd Street between 145th and 146th avenues has the block's houses shaking with vibrations and its residents shaking with rage.

Broadway Custom Homes, a Long Island-based development company, is building what appears to be a three-story, apartment complex and has laid a second foundation for another building. The rest of the block consists of about 24 private, one-family homes.

Residents say the complex will create parking problems, crowding and jeopardize safety for the block's dwellers.

"It will be overcrowding in a limited space," said Dorothy Palmer, a longtime resident of the block.

Residents say the complex will house as many as 15 families and could transform the block from a quiet suburb into a busy, crowded housing development.

Several residents said they feared the block would be turned into a housing project, where it is impossible to know most of your neighbors or who should be there and who should not.

But they have been unable to get the construction halted because it is an as-of-right project, which allows a developer to build multiple-family housing without a community or city land-use review.

"While the building is out of character with the neighborhood, it is allowable," said Dan Andrews, a spokesman for Borough President Claire Shulman.

Andrews said because of the unusual nature of the development in the residential area, the borough president has been meeting with residents and city agencies to make sure all fire and building codes are followed.

He said Shulman will next be meeting with community residents on March 27 to discuss the project at Borough Hall.

Paul Wein, a spokesman for the city Department of Buildings, said David Chait, the owner of the development company, has permits to build two, three-story two-family houses even though the complex looks like it will be able to accommodate a number of housing units.

He could not say if more units were slated to be built.

Raymond Joseph, the president of the Springfield-Rosedale Community Action Association, said back in 1996 Broadway Custom Homes purchased two houses, demolished them, and laid the foundation for the two buildings. He said construction did not get fully under way until this past summer and was not sure why there was such a long delay.

Chait could not be reached for comment.

T.F. Cusenelli, the Maspeth-based architect who designed the site for Broadway Custom Homes, said neither he nor the developer had any comment about the nature of the project or why there was a lull in construction for three years.

"We have been harassed just as much as we can take," Cusenelli said.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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