The Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously denied a developer’s request last week to subdivide a residential property on West Market Street and build two new homes after residents blasted the proposal.
Residents turned out in force at the Aug. 28 meeting, where they took issue with a plan to raze a two-family home at 535 W. Market St., between Washington and Lindell boulevards. The developer, Kamran Pourgol, of Old Westbury, was seeking a zoning variance to subdivide the property to build a two-family and a one-family home.
More than two dozen residents went before the zoning board to oppose the plan, saying that city code prohibits such subdivisions in cases where an existing home sits on a portion of the property that would be separated.
Additionally, residents said that the subdivision project would create parking problems, hurt the character of the community, negatively impact property values, and “stress” local infrastructure. Some who live nearby also said that the homes would tower over their houses and infringe on their privacy. The board denied the variance on Sept. 18.
“The community was against the application,” said zoning board Trustee Angelo Lomonte, “and I specifically asked the lawyers to submit any supporting documents as to why this would be beneficial to the community, or to show some sort of economic hardship, and they submitted nothing. The neighbors were very vocal and it was out of character with the community, so we denied it.”
The variance request comes at a time when a number of residents are growing increasingly vocal about overdevelopment, and have opposed recent efforts by property owners to subdivide properties in order to build large homes.
Lomonte, the lone Republican-appointee on the board, said that residents have become particularly vocal about the issue after the zoning board recently approved developer iStar’s variance to build two 15-story luxury apartment buildings on the vacant Superblock property between Long Beach and Riverside boulevards.
“I voted against iStar, so it’s no secret that I’m against overdevelopment,” Lomonte said. “And pretty much all subdivisions, I’ve been against them unless they can show an economic hardship.”