Today’s news:

Homecrest development hole ordered filled

By Gary Buiso

Homecrest’s black hole might soon be a thing of neighborhood lore.

The Department of Buildings last week declared 1610 Avenue S a stalled development site, and ordered developer Samuel Kahan to fill the massive hole that has vexed residents who have long blasted the project as wildly out of scale with existing homes.

Carly Sullivan, a spokesperson for the DOB, said an emergency declaration was issued on Nov. 12, authorizing the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development to backfill the entire site, level it, and erect a fence if the developer doesn’t comply. At press time, a call to Kahan, through a messaging service connected to his Coney Island Avenue-based Skyline Capital Group, was not returned.

Theresa Scavo, chair of Community Board 15, said she has also tried to reach out to the developer to learn the status of the project, to no avail. While she said she had no personal opinion about the project, which at one time called for the construction of a 66-foot tall building with 25 condominiums and 15 parking spots. “It’s not what I think it’s what is good for the community, and the community never wanted this,” she said. The hope, she continued is that the whole project is scrapped and that two or three one-family homes are built at the site instead.

As this paper has long chronicled, opponents of the project argued that construction at the site was illegal in the first place, since the building’s foundation was not completely poured before a zoning change took effect in the area in 2006, a change that restricts building heights to 35 feet. With the new zoning in place, a project of this size is illegal without the approval of the BSA.But Kahan, through his attorneys, argued to the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals that enough of the foundation was poured in time, and should therefore be vested under the old zoning. The panel, which had official say on the matter, last year granted the developer the right to build, but the property has seen little action since that time.

Ed Jaworski, the executive vice president of the Madison Marine Homecrest Civic Association said that in the sort term, the site could benefit from a community garden and nicer fencing. “Until something happens there, I would hope that the neighborhood has some input about doing something more attractive there than having a plywood fence and a hole in the ground,” he said. After all, he added, “The community didn’t want this here to begin with.”

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