Space for change: Board approves controversial parking-reduction plan

A healthy argument: The Prime Home Health Services building is at the center of a debate about a special permit that would allow the building to increase its height and reduce parking spaces.
Photo by Louise Wateridge

They gave it a green light after all.

The community board gave the go-ahead for a Sheepshead Bay office to build bigger and reduce the number of parking spaces in its garage after a study found that there’s plenty of parking spaces to go around — disproving concerns board members voiced last month that the reduced parking will force office workers to leave their cars on the street and leave locals searching for a spot. Community Board 15 recommended the city approve the renovation by a vote of 22–13 with one abstention, but some detractors feared the structure, which is also zoned for residential use, could change hands and that a new owner might try to attract more drivers.

“Do we want a larger commercial establishment to be occupied by more people who come in by car?” said board member Maurice Kolodin. “What will happen five years from now?”

The Emmons Avenue building owner’s attorney told Community Board 15 at its Dec. 15 meeting that folks should not be worried the renovations will put them in a jam, because the study found that there were still a ton of spaces for everyone — even when workers weren’t taking advantage of the attendant-controlled garage.

“Even when they’re not in the garage now, there’s still 100 spaces available on the street” said zoning lawyer Eric Palatnik,

The study looked at the number of spots available within a half-mile of the building at any given time over the course of a week, Palatnik said. The actual number varied with time of day, so a few dozen spots were up for grabs in the morning, and availability peaked at 100 spaces around 4 pm each day, he said.

His client is seeking a special permit to enlarge the office’s second floor and build a third floor in the Prime Home Health Care building between Ford and Coyle streets to keep up with the company’s 111-and-growing workforce, he said. But codes have changed since the building was erected in 1991, and parking spots must now be built larger to comply with new laws when major construction on the rest of the building occurs, Palatnik said. Building owners are reducing the number of parking spaces from 44 to 32, he said.

The application will now move to an evaluation by Borough President Adams, who will submit his recommendation and pass it onto the City Planning Commission.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511.

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