BY JAMES FARRELL
Community Board 7 approved a plan to build 21 single-family homes fronting on a street not legally mapped by the city, which will be built by developer Tim O’Sullivan as part of the project.
The project is located on the plot of land between Powell’s Cove Boulevard, 150th Street, 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue—part of the land that once held the Cresthaven Country Club, which closed in 1989. O’Sullivan purchased the six-acre plot in 2015. The project, called The Bridges at Whitestone, calls for 45 single-family homes. The homes are all in keeping with the zoning of the neighborhood, but part of the project places 21 of those homes along Sullivan Drive—a street not mapped by the city that will be built by O’Sullivan through the middle of the site. That element of the project needed to be approved by the Board of Standards and Appeals, which includes the community board’s opinion in its decision. On Monday night, Community Board 7 voted unanimously to approve the project, setting the stage for its completion.
Approval from the community board has been pending since September, when the proposal was first introduced at a meeting. As part of the Board of Standards and Appeals process, O’Sullivan needed the street to be approved by a number of entities, including the community board, the fire department and the Department of Transportation (DOT). Back in September, the board came close to voting to approve the project, but given that it had not yet received approval from the fire department and the DOT, it opted to table the discussion.
“Better off that we have 100 percent understanding of everything approved,” said Board 1st Chair Chuck Apelian at the time.
On Monday night, committee chair Kevin Shields explained that at an earlier committee meeting, board members had reviewed approvals from the FDNY and the DOT, and recommended that the community board approve the project. It was voted on shortly after.
Eric Palatnik, the attorney representing O’Sullivan, reiterated to community board members that Sullivan Drive would be owned by a newly established homeowner’s association consisting of residents along the street. While it would be built to New York City’s specifications, the association would be in charge of all maintenance.
“That HOA, the Homeowners Association, is a legal entity, and they are then charged with the responsibility of plowing, maintaining the street,” he said. “To the naked eye, it will look like every other street.”
That maintenance includes lighting, landscaping, sidewalks and curbs. He told the Queens Tribune that the city would still be in charge of garbage pickup.
During the September meeting, Palatnik spoke of some specifications and praised O’Sullivan’s designs and progress, explaining that the homes were all unique—not cookie-cutter—and had big yards as part of 5,000-square-foot lots. Every home will have parking for two.
The Bridges at Whitestone website describes the project as “the first new custom-built planned development of its kind,” with 45 custom homes. O’Sullivan told the Queens Tribune that it has sold around 12 houses at this point, and that the entire project will likely be finished by the beginning of 2019. The first 11 houses are finished—that was the first phase of the project. The second phase, which consists of another 12 houses, is just beginning. And once he gets approval from the Board of Standards and Appeals, which he hopes will happen in the next month or two, the final phase of building those Sullivan Drive houses will begin.
“We’re on schedule for everything,” he said. “It’s coming along really well; we’re selling really well.”
Committee chair Kevin Shields lives across the street, and he said the project looks great—especially since the property had been underutilized for years.
“It came out beautiful,” he said. “I’ve been watching 17 years of that property being vacant.”
“It’s better than vacant land,” he added.
Reach out to James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.