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BJ's Big-Box Development Near Wetlands Voted Down by Community Board 1

By Nicholas Rizzi | June 15, 2017 9:13am
 A proposed retail development, which would include Staten Island's first BJ's Wholesale Club, was rejected by Community Board 1 over environmental concerns.
A proposed retail development, which would include Staten Island's first BJ's Wholesale Club, was rejected by Community Board 1 over environmental concerns.
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Flickr/Mike Mozart

MARINERS HARBOR — A proposed retail hub that would include the borough's first BJ's Wholesale Club was rejected by Community Board 1 after concerns about the impact to the wetlands in the area.

The board narrowly voted against developer's Josif A. LLC's application to de-map several unbuilt streets on the 28.3-acre lot on South and Forest avenues to build the nearly 92,000 square-foot retail development at their full meeting Tuesday night.

"A lot of residents came out in terms of the impact on the wetlands and that whole area," said Nicholas Siclari, chairman of the board. 

Siclari also said that residents were concerned about the potential traffic impacts the development could cause if built.

"It seems like a resounding issue every time we have a major development like this," Siclari said.

The vote was 17 for the project, 14 against with five abstaining from it, which count as no votes in the total. That was enough to stop the application from being approved, Siclari said.

Developers hope to build the retail hub — which will include several stores and the BJ's — with 838 parking spaces on the lot that also includes wetlands, according to city documents.

Plans don't call to build on the wetlands and a draft environmental impact statement from the city found no significant adverse affects to the area from the project.

However, residents were still concerned about building near wetlands and did not want the thousands of trees on the site to be removed for the development.

"In developing these fresh water wetlands and forested parcels into a commercial retail space, Josif A. LLC will be degrading this natural space," Beryl Thurman, president of the North Shore Waterfront Conservancy of Staten Island, wrote in a letter to the board opposing the project.

The project manager for the development did not respond to a request for comment for the story, but told NY1 they worked with several consultants to preserve the wetlands and add more plantings to it.

The board only serves in an advisory position in land use matters and did not agree to recommended changes to application, Siclari said. The application will now move on to Councilwoman Debi Rose and Borough President James Oddo for consideration.