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The city caved to the demands of a Bensonhurst developer who refused to provide the required number of parking spaces for his new medical building — a nine-story building that infuriated neighbors say will create a traffic and parking nightmare on Bay Parkway.
The Board of Standards and Appeals gave developer Mark Caller the go ahead to finish his Calko Medical Center between 60th and 61st streets without providing 231 parking spaces — the legal number required for a building that size — after his lawyers produced studies claiming that parking in the neighborhood isn’t as bad as residents claim.
The city ordered Caller to provide 177 spaces — 61 more parking spots then Caller planned on reserving.
Upset neighbors called the ruling a sham, claiming the city ignored their pleas.
“You may as well be in the Soviet Union,” said Leo Weinberger, an attorney representing neighbors.
But the city claims that it took everyone’s concerns into account.
“The applicant did complete extensive parking analysis studies to determine the demand for parking in the facility and the board was satisfied,” said Jeff Mulligan, the executive director of the board. “[We] ultimately required more spaces than was requested.”
The news caps a 10-month fight between Caller and a group of neighbors and civic leaders who repeatedly packed Board of Standards and Appeals meetings in lower Manhattan to sound off against the oversized development.
According to a parking study commissioned by Caller, only 143 people would need parking spots at the center during peak hours.
But neighbors repeatedly lambasted the studies, saying that they were conducted on days when alternate side parking was in effect, and most people were parked in other neighborhoods.
The debates between developers and the board resulted in a few extra parking spaces each time Caller’s team pleaded its case.
Board of Standards and Appeals members asked Caller’s lawyers to create more parking spaces in November after the developer offered to build 160 spots — chiding him for using up space allotted for parking before he was allowed to do so.
“The big corporation did win in one respect,” said neighbor Ann Cali. “But our victory is that we won about 65 more spots. It’s bittersweet.”
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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