August 4, 2016 By Michael Florio
The Landmarks Preservation Commission once again decided to table a controversial proposal to enlarge a one-story building on 37th Ave.
Developers presented their plan to build four stories of residential units on top of the current one-story commercial building located at 84-11 through 84-23 37th Ave and got a mixed reception from the commission.
This was the second time they presented their plans to the commission only for it to be tabled. The last time they went before the commission was in August 2015.
While the property owner Charles Patel did not get the go-ahead he wanted, the proposal took a big step in the right direction, according to his lawyer, Howard Weiss.
The commissioners noted that the four-story addition was appropriate for the neighborhood, Weiss said. An LPC spokeswoman confirmed this information.
The Commissioners tabled the application, asking the applicant to refine the design further. This includes changes to the brickwork, and other features to make the addition more in harmony with surrounding buildings, Weiss said.
When it was tabled last year, the commission questioned whether it would compatible with the neighborhood. The commission also wanted the developer to do more research on the history of the location.
The applicant spent the last year doing extensive research on the development of Jackson Heights, dating back to the early 1900’s, Weiss said.
With the decision that the four-story addition is appropriate in the neighborhood, Weiss is very confident that once the architectural changes are made, the project will ultimately receive the thumbs up.
“We are happy with their decision,” he said. “We believe if the commission is happy with our changes they will approve the application.”
However, its approval would by contrary to wishes of many residents.
Community Board 3 has rejected the plan several times arguing that it is not appropriate for the neighborhood.
Councilman Daniel Dromm, who spoke out against the proposal at the 2015 hearing, said. “We believe that allowing any additional height on this building violates the original intent of Jackson Heights,” Dromm said.
Dromm believes the LPC shares the same concerns as he does and that Weiss is being very optimistic.
“The commissioners were divided on the height issue, as some thought it did not fit in with the neighborhood,” he said. “One commissioner in particular was concerned that this would set a precedent for the rest of the north side of 37th Ave.”
Dromm said he will continue to attend these public meetings, as well as encourage constituents to write letters to the LPC.