The Real Deal New York

SI project on fragile wetlands awaits city approval

March 07, 2012 01:00PM

A developer’s plan to build 13 single-family homes in the Richmond section of Staten Island is meeting opposition from local residents, politicians and environmental advocates, the Staten Island Advance reported.

Brooklyn-based developer Max Gurvitch has proposed to build in the Special Natural Area Zoning District that includes valuable freshwater wetlands on a 6.8-acre lot bounded by Richmond and St. Andrew’s roads, Wilder Avenue and Mace Street. Gurvitch’s firm, Island Realty Associates, acknowledges that the site contains freshwater wetlands and areas adjacent to wetlands. Further, it noted the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation has prohibited the construction of streets in the region in order to preserve the wetlands area. Opponents wonder how houses can be built on those very grounds.

As a result, public officials, including Borough President James Molinaro and embattled Rep. Michael Grimm, and community activists fear the project will distrub the wetlands and increase flooding. They oppose the project, and fear that if the development is permitted, it will open the floodgates for more developers to eschew community concerns and alter the character of the neighborhood.

Nevertheless, the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals is in the process of meeting with Gurvitch to rule on his proposal. The proposal’s opponents voiced disdain over the apparent disconnect between the city and the Department of Environmental Conservation. [SI Advance]