Submitted by ub on Sat, 10/26/2013 - 20:28

The next meeting of the City Island Civic Association will take place 7:30 PM on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 190 Fordham Street. There are no special guests expected at this time.

We will discuss recent activity on the new City Island Bridge. Tutor Perini, the contractor who will be building the bridge, was issued a notice to proceed after September 30th. In the meantime, the Civic Association is working with State Senator Jeff Klein and other local elected officials to explore the possibility of filing a legal action in an effort to delay construction until all legally-required reviews have been completed.

The Italian Hospital Society has submitted amended plans on 222 City Island Avenue. The plans do scale back the previous submission. The new proposal is now three floors (instead of four), down to 150 beds (from 214 beds) and parking was also reduced to 50 (originally 102). That being said, the building is still over 35 feet in violation of City Island’s Special District Zoning. Also, the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is still beyond zoning regulations and its still being built on a flood plan, which puts seniors who need care, some of the most vulnerable among us, in a possibly perilous situation. It is for these reasons the Civic Association remains opposed to this project. We’ll discuss the new proposal and recent activity at the Board of Standards and Appeals at the next meeting.

The 45th Precinct’s Community Council held their meeting at the American Legion- Hawkins Post on October 3rd. Police advised that City Island has had a trend of burglaries of copper wire, mostly from supply stores. The perpetrators have been apprehended. One has made bail and the other is awaiting a court hearing.

From the City Island Chamber of Commerce- “The FREE Bronx Seaside Trolley continues on Friday November 1st from 5:30pm to 9:30pm, leaving hourly on the half hour, from Pelham Bay Station (at the #29 bus stop) and going to The Bartow Pell Mansion Museum then on to City Island For an evening of Art, Music and Fine Dining, with a new stop at Turtle Cove Golf and Baseball Center on the way back to Pelham Bay station. Take advantage of special offers when you show your Trolley Card at participating establishments. Only available from the driver or tour guide on the Trolley.”

Also, the City Island Halloween Parade will take place on Halloween October 31st 2013. Participants are asked to gather at Hawkins Park at 5:30PM. The parade is sponsored by the City Island Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you and please continue to take an interest in your community. Annual Civic dues are $20 per household, please stay up to date!

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Minutes of Meeting of September 24, 2013

The meeting was called to order by Fred Ramftl, Vice President. The reading of the August minutes was waived and they were accepted as distributed. The treasurer’s report was also waived.

We turned out in good number for the DOT meeting last night about the bridge, and it was covered by Channels 2, 12 and NY1. We decided to send a number of unanswered questions to DOT; Jane Protzman is drawing up the list and will forward it to Ken Kearns for forwarding to DOT. The contract for the bridge has been authorized, but we are now trying to find a way to have the project stopped. The company that was contracted has a bad history of corruption and cost overruns. Although many of the candidates are aware of the bridge issue, we have not had a conversation with Bill di Blasio, who is heavily favored to win the race for mayor. We are going to reach out to Councilman Vacca and see what he can do.

John Doyle and Barbara Dolensek met with an attorney who hadpreviously sued DOT for another community. He advised us that we have a weak case and advised waiting. We will be meeting with Senator Jeff Klein to get his opinion on how to proceed. We are not sure whether or not Mr. di Blasio will come to City Island or even the Bronx as part of his campaign. JoeLhota had made the point that commissioners used to come with the mayor to town meetings all around the city so they would bein touch with the issues of the communities. These meetings have not occurred with the current administration. A letter from the community board from its chair, John Marano, is being sent to DOT.

Our attorney in the Mignone case has received all revised plans, which reduce the building by one floor (but is the same height asbefore) and only 150 beds and 50 parking spaces. There is also a setback from the street. The comparisons for FAR are based on buildings constructed before zoning and are not on the avenue. There are additional common areas for the residents to use on the first floor; very little on the other floors. There are no nursing facilities because it is just assisted living and there is some help provided. He still does not have the permits to run this type of facility. The new material includes an economic analysis, indicating that the cost to stay in this facility will be at least $4,000 a month (including meals). The worry is that it Dr.Mignone gets the variance and does not build an assisted living facility, or decides not to go forward for any reason, the present owner could sell the property, with the variance, to a developer who could build any similar building for some other use, such as an adult home or single-occupancy apartments. We have to respond in two weeks and then there will be a hearing on November 19 at BSA (update: meeting was scheduled for October 28). It seems that we cannot tie a specific use to the variance.

Jimmy Vacca’s office will also follow up on our questions with DOT and make sure we get some answers. The elected officials do not have much say with mayoral agency decisions. There should be an investigation into the decisions that were made. Perhaps the contract could be cancelled or construction postponed until after a new mayor is in place.