BY JON CRONIN
The YGS Yeshiva expansion was voted down by Community Board 5 at their monthly meeting on Oct. 14, with the board arguing that the plans would be out of character with the surrounding residential community.
The private Hebrew school expansion has been a contentious issue among residents in Glendale.
Walter Sanchez, chair of the CB 5’s land use committee said they felt the expansion would be, “out of scale with the surrounding buildings.” He noted that 360 students are currently sleeping in dorms there and the expansion would accommodate 710, which he believes is too many.
He said that although the Yeshiva has expanded in students and may need the new construction, he believes “the hardship is self-imposed,” adding that the waste created by such a large building could not be accommodated by the local sewer system.
Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5, let Abraham Markowitz, the property manager for the YGS Yeshiva, know that this decision is not a reflection on his position as an ambassador to the community.
Giordano said, “Abraham, you’ve been terrific…a great neighbor.”
The vote against the expansion was not unanimous. Dorie Figliola, a neighbor of the Yeshiva, Alexander Maureau, and CB 5 Chairman Vinnie Arcuri all voted against the land use committee’s opinion.
After the meeting, Arcuri said he voted against the land use committee’s recommendation because, “What are you gonna get there instead?” Arcuri doused a popular rumor that the expansion would set precedence for the proposed homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue, “Variances do not set precedence,” he said.
When the Yeshiva was erected in 2006, they did not openly announce to the community that they would have dorms. It is Arcuri’s opinion that the community is responding to the Yeshiva successfully getting approval as an educational facility many years ago when the City Council deemed industrial M-1 zoning applicable for educational facilities.
Arcuri said the Department of Buildings is currently auditing the Yeshiva’s certificate of occupancy for having dorms on site.
Figliola said as a neighbor, “I definitely see what’s goin on.” She said there aren’t many buses and there are no parents frequently double parking, or dropping off and picking up the students, “You don’t have the same issues as with with public and private schools.”
She added that at the most, “You may see 15 or 20 of the boys outside.”
Figliola also believes the variance would not create precedence for the creation of homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue. She said they would have to have to get zoning approval for a hotel, “That would be different. They’re there twenty four-seven,” she said, adding that the Yeshiva, with breaks and holidays, are there approximately eight and half months a year.
Alexander Schnell, spokesman for the Department of Buildings, said the Yeshiva is under review “for a variance, under Sections 72-21 and 42-00 of the NYC Zoning Resolution for a proposed change in use and building enlargement, from existing Use Group 9 Trade School to a Use Group 3 Religious School with additional classrooms and dormitories.”
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin