City slams Bensonhurst developer’s parking plan

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A developer is duping the city into cutting the amount of parking spaces he’s required to reserve in his new nine-story medical facility by using a fraudulent traffic study, say neighbors who think the new building will bring with it parking chaos.

The Calko Medical Center, which is under construction on Bay Parkway between 60th and 61st streets is required to provide at least 206 parking spaces, but the city is in talks with its developer Mark Caller, who claims his study shows the area will be fine if he provides just 160 off-street spaces.

But residents say that’s hooey, claiming Caller’s study was fatally flawed because it was done on days when alternate side of the street parking was in effect, and many drivers would have been forced to park in other parts of the neighborhood.

“Their parking studies were not accurate at all,” she said. “It’s ludicrous.”

Neighbors of the controversial project said the city should not play ball, and are incensed that they are even talking about dropping below the legal number of spaces.

“They should build 206 spaces — end of story,” said Anna Cali, who lives in the neighborhood. “They are cutting the developer a break.”

Developers initially had requested a permit for 110 spots, then bumped it up to 120. Caller’s lawyer on Tuesday begrudgingly agreed to put in as many as 160 spaces, and the board claims that it is trying to get more.

According to the parking study provided by the developer, many of the employees and patients at the building — which includes satellite offices for Maimonides Medical Center, a partner in the development — will take public transportation or get rides from family members to get there. At 11 am on a weekday — the peak parking time — 125 people would need parking spaces, the study said, leaving only five drivers searching for parking in the streets.

Lyra Altman, the attorney representing Caller, did not respond to a phone call and e-mail requesting comment.

The next public hearing on the project is scheduled for Nov. 22 at the Board of Standards and Appeals in Manhattan.

Caller initially tried to develop the building — which is zoned for residential use with a commercial overlay that allows for buildings that provide a public service — into a mixed-used building with residential units above retail on the ground floor, but plans stalled after the housing market crashed in 2007, according to the website Real Estate Weekly.

Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at or by calling him at (718) 260-4507. You can also follow his Tweets at @dsmacleod.

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Reader Feedback

Greg from Bhurst says:
The professional traffic engineer who did the study should be reported
Oct. 25, 2011, 8:52 am
Chris from Bushwick says:
Is that sign serious? Parking is a privilege for EVERYONE, not a right. Especially when we're talking about street parking, which is subsidized by the 55% of Bensonhurst residents who pay city taxes, but don't own cars.
Oct. 25, 2011, 12:43 pm
money talks from bribery says:
they will bribe to get things done
Oct. 25, 2011, 2:59 pm

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