The city is demanding the developer of a medical building in Bensonhurst find more room to park cars within the structure before it will signs off on the nearly finished nine-story edifice that doesn’t adhere to the area’s zoning.
The Board of Standards and Appeals and neighbors of the Calko Medical Center on Bay Parkway between 60th and 61st streets, criticized developers at a Nov. 22 meeting for setting aside valuable floor space for storage and a cafeteria before ensuring that it could provide enough parking spots for its patients and staff.
“It is clear that you are not utilizing the cellar space as much as you could,” Board Chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan chided project consultant Seth Wright at the hearing.
It was the fourth time that the city told the lawyer representing developer Mark Caller that he needs to provide more parking.
The city requires a building that size to provide at least 206 spaces, but Caller has repeatedly tried to low-ball that figure, using dubious parking studies to explain why the parking situation in the neighborhood is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be, critics charged.
Wright told the board that another pocket of space in the basement could not be used for parking because sensitive medical equipment was stored directly above on the next floor.
A cafeteria in the basement also used up space, so some board members told developers to just move it.
“The cafeteria is an amenity; it isn’t a requirement,” said Susan Hinkson. “I’d like to see that used for more public space.”
The meeting in lower Manhattan drew a packed crowd of Bensonhurst neighbors who took the day off from work and travelled by bus to rail against the plan.
“We would really have like to welcome this building into our community,” said Anna Cali, who is among 50 neighbors organized a group four years ago to fight oversized developments in the area. “But there has just been too much deception. Instead of shuffling cars around, why can’t they just add another floor of parking?”
Caller’s lawyer, Lyra Altman, declined to comment after the meeting.
The next hearing is slated for Jan. 10.