Longtime Marine Parkers are livid the city let the owners of a small one-family Kimball Street home supersize it into a multi-family monstrosity they say is completely out of character with the neighborhood — and part of a trend that, if it continues, will let developers turn their beloved enclave into an overcrowded mess the likes of which can sadly be found just a few blocks away.
“What they’ve done to Sheepshead Bay is horrifying,” said Louise Quinlan. “We’re one of the few neighborhoods left from the old days.”
Unlike the quaint one-family homes it is surrounded by, the Kimball Street six-family between Avenues T and U sticks out like a sore thumb, thanks to its cluster of gas meters up front and mess of ductless air-conditioning units attached to it side. On top of that, it has a painted handicapped parking space in front, replacing what is normally a patch of grass, is noticeably taller than its two neighbors, and has entrances on the side as opposed to the front.
“It’s hideous and ugly,” said Quinlan. “There’s nothing in the front, no garden. It destroys the look of the block.”
The home generated a lot of buzz when someone posted a picture of it in a Marine Park Facebook group in January, leading to several angry comments focused on the house’s number of floors and look from the outside.
Local real estate agent Jerry Minsky said he agreed the building clashes with the rest of the neighborhood.
“It’s dead situated among a lot of beautiful old homes built in the 1920s and 1930s,” he said. “What they did at the Kimball house aesthetically went against the continuously historic houses, and not in a tasteful way.”
The building is classified as a residential apartment home. The previous single-family house on the lot was demolished in late 2015, and the Department of Buildings issued a new work permit for the construction of a new six-family residential building last November. This permit expires in October, according to a department spokesman.
Kimball NY Corp. owns the property, according to the Department of Finance database. Representatives of the company could not be reached for comment.
Minsky said he thinks Marine Park should consider pursuing a historic district designation to help stop any over-development, an age-old concern for some Marine Parkers. But last year, Community Board 18 District Manager Dottie Turano asked the city to pay for a study to upzone the area, a budget request that she said she would scrap after outcry from residents.
Quinlan and many others have also criticized a structure going up on Avenue T near Hendrickson Street, saying its appearance is atypical and that it won’t be a single-family home as its classification states. The developer, however, maintains it is for one family and showed this paper floor plans.
Some Marine Parkers feel they are losing their neighborhood’s small-town charm as bigger and taller projects like those on Kimball and Hendrickson streets go up.
“The highest thing around Marine Park is the trees,” said local Bob Tracy. “We’d like to keep it that way.”