Aug. 12, 2015 By Michael Florio
The Landmarks Preservation Commission tabled a developer’s controversial plan to enlarge a one-story building located in Jackson Height’s historic district yesterday.
Charles Knight, an architect who came armed with renderings and data, told the landmarks commission at a Manhattan hearing yesterday that the proposal would add four stories of residential units on top of the one-story commercial building at 84-11 37th Avenue.
Knight claimed that the proposal is consistent with existing developments on the North side of 37th Ave and therefore should be approved by the commission.
However, the commission wanted more information on the history of the site before it would render a decision. It asked the developer to go back and do the research.
Several officials and residents attended the meeting to voice their opposition, believing that the historic district, which was designated as such in 1993, should remain intact.
Many residents argued that the building would be out of character and that it would undermine the purpose of the landmarked district.
“This proposal would destroy the planned community Jackson Heights was granted when it was landmarked,” said Scott Brevda, 23, an 85th Street resident, at the hearing yesterday.
Furthermore, Councilman Daniel Dromm, said the proposed plan would set an undesirable precedent for the expansion of all one-story commercial buildings on 37th Avenue.
“When landmarked in 1993, 37th Avenue was constructed primarily of one-story structures,” Dromm Said. “These structures are important for the community and the commission should preserve them.”
Representatives for state Senators Jose Peralta and Michael DenDekker read letters stating their opposition to the proposal. Dromm read a statement at the hearing on behalf of Queen Borough President Melinda Katz who also opposes it.
A Community Board 3 member told the commission that the board had voted against it several times, with the latest vote in opposition coming in April.
Under the proposal, the first floor would primarily be commercial space, although there would be room for community space at below market rent. There would also be basement parking.
The date for the next hearing has yet to be scheduled.