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Plan for Street in Staten Island Wetland Development Rejected

By Nicholas Rizzi | June 19, 2013 1:56pm
The Wetlands
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RICMOND TOWN — A controversial development planned for a patch of wetlands near Richmond Road has been opposed for the second time by Staten Island's Community Board 2.

The proposed 13 single-family homes that would sit on a patch of the Richmond Creek Bluebelt was previously turned down by the board. But the development was subsequently approved by the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA).

The application came back to the Staten Island board Tuesday because it still needs a variance in land use codes for the building of a private street. Members rejected it.

“We voted it down,” said the board’s Land Use Committee Chair Frank Marchiano at the meeting. “We voted it down originally when it came to us.”

Residents and the board took the application as yet another chance to speak out against the development.

They said they would like to keep the natural aspect of the wetland intact, and worried the development would damage the water run off and potentially cause more flooding in the neighborhood.

“There has not been one public hearing where anybody offered a reason why this project should go forward,” said Richard Habib, who lives near the project. “Nobody wants it, everybody's against it. The biggest mystery in my mind is why this is still going on?”

Assemblyman Joe Borelli and Councilman James Oddo sent representatives to the meeting to also fight against the planned property, developed by Max Gurvitch of Island Realty Associates LLC.

The development, which residents have fought since 2010, was given the go ahead by the BSA in April of 2012, even after the community board voted against it, the Staten Island Advance reported.

The site is located in a Special Natural Area Zoning district, and was given the permits to build by the state Department of Environmental Conservation in 2010.

On the site,  20 percent of the land is designated as a Freshwater Wetland, and another 53 percent is Freshwater Wetland Adjacent Area, the Advance reported.

Only board voted unanimously, except for one abstention, to deny the project's variance, and the application will move on to the BSA for another vote.