BY JON CRONIN
Variances for a drastic reduction in parking and a height-above-zoning designation were discussed at Queens Borough Hall last week for the proposed expansion of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center on College Point Boulevard.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz explained that Community Board 7 had voted against the variances for the center by 22-13. Katz noted that despite her belief that the expansion would be beneficial for the borough, the project—located at 40-46 College Point Blvd.—has drawn the ire of the community.
Jesse Mazer, a representative for the community health center, said that the site is a long, narrow space. He noted that a height variance is needed for the expansion. Mazer explained that zoning would normally require 280 parking spaces for such a site. Since it is a health center, the number could be cut down to 140 spaces, but the project is seeking a variance to lower that number to 35 spaces.
Mazer said that there are more than 1,000 spots available at all times in a paid lot across the street at the Skyview Center mall—which he noted should be more than adequate, according to a parking analysis for the structure. He added that if the center were to add parking in the building it would accommodate few spots, and the up and down ramps in the lot would take up most of the space.
Mazer said that CB 7’s planning committee did not believe the on-site parking would meet the needs of the center.
He added that up to 35 percent of the site’s customers would drive to the center.
“That could still be a lot of people,” Katz said, and asked if the developers could come to an agreement with the Skyview mall so that a certain percentage of the mall’s parking garage would be allotted to the center.
Mazer said that the mall’s own zoning would not allow this arrangement.
“They cannot legally give away zoning. It is a zoning catch-22,” Mazer said.
Katz revealed that there is money in the budget for the project if the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals approves it.