ST. GEORGE — A plan to tear down St. George homes and replace them with a 68 unit, six story apartment building is being attacked by Staten Island's borough president.
James Oddo asked the city to halt the demolition of the homes, claiming the developers are ignoring the neighborhood's existing zoning laws.
Manhattan firm Maxwell-Kates plans to build at 93 Monroe Ave. and have asked for a variance in the city's zoning code for the project.
Oddo called on the city's Board of Standards and Appeals to reject the developer's request because the project would be out of character with the one and two-family homes that make up the block.
"During my time in public office I have seen many developers purchase a piece of property knowing full well what was and wasn’t permitted by zoning," Oddo said in a statement.
"Despite their full knowledge of the zoning requirements, many developers appeal to BSA and allege that they would suffer a hardship if they were forced to build pursuant to the area’s zoning.
"In this case, the proposed project will alter the character of this neighborhood, harm adjoining property owners and be detrimental to public welfare."
Oddo said the developer's plan doesn't comply with existing rules. The proposed number of units is almost double that which is permitted, the building has a larger footprint and is 20-foot higher than allowed.
Representatives of Maxwell-Kates did not respond to a request for comment. Department of Buildings records show they bought the property in 2015.
If approved, Oddo said the developers could set a dangerous precedent for others wanting to turn single-family homes into apartment buildings around the borough.
"This fight is so important because this could be a precursor to what could, conceivably, start happening in other neighborhoods as developers, both for-profit and nonprofit, start the process of using [Board of Standards and Appeals] to turn blocks made up of one and two family homes into those made up of multi-story apartment buildings," Oddo said.
With mega-projects like Lighthouse Point and the New York Wheel headed to Staten Island's waterfront, a wave of development has brought several other planned apartment buildings to the North Shore. Many will taking over single-family homes or empty lots.
Projects headed to the area include a four-story condo in St. George that will take the place of a long unoccupied two-family home, a six-story apartment building being planned for a Tompkinsville lot and a five-story apartment building where a 19th century Stapleton house now stands.
Aside from the 93 Monroe Ave. property, Oddo has recently spoken out against several other projects where developers are trying to change zoning codes to fit as many homes as possible on a single lot.