EXCLUSIVE: Corner monstrosity

Residents on Bay 23rd Street are seeing red over development on their corner, approved by the city, that they say will destroy the character of the block.

The owners of the corner lot on the east side of Bay 23rd Street at Cropsey Avenue got approval from the Department of Buildings (DOB) to extend the front of the structure by 12 feet and to add a third story.

Boris and Mina Zolotaryov live in the home attached to the house currently under construction and say that the extended facade will greatly diminish their quality of life. When they walk out their front door, they are greeted by a large plywood wall that blocks out sunlight. It will soon be a brick building.

“We used to have a side-by-side door entrance. Now there is no light. It’s like we will be living behind a wall,” Zolotaryov explained, adding that he is baffled that the addition is legal. Zolotaryov said that it was okay with him and his family if his neighbor built “on top and in the back, but not in front.”

After reaching out to city officials and agencies including Community Board 11 and the DOB, Zolotaryov was told that the construction is in fact permitted. The block is zoned as a residential district, which, according to the DCP Zoning Handbook, allows “front yards 10’ deep or or at least 18’ deep if parking is provided.”

Community Board 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia explained, “The building is in an R5 zone and it meets the requirements for horizontal and vertical extensions. However, this is the reason why CB11 supports the rezoning that Councilmembers Recchia and Gentile introduced several years ago to save the character of these types of houses,” she said. “I completely understand [their concerns].”

The homeowner, Chung Wah Ivan Ng, is reportedly expanding to make room for his extended family to live in the house, Zolotaryov said.

“That’s how the architect designed it. It shouldn’t affect anyone,” Ng told this paper.

But the Zolotaryovs and their neighbors beg to differ.

“This will change the entire look and flavor of the block,” said Tony Barone, who has lived on Bay 23rd Street for 30 years. The street is a dead end, surrounded by trees, giving it a sleepy, secluded feeling.

“My beautiful, poor neighbors have to come out and look at this wall…it was poorly thought out,” he went on. “This corner [structure] will take the light from all of us.”

Roberta Z. has lived on the block her whole life. “They have no respect for the neighborhood. You purchase on this block because it’s cute. It’s original and quaint,” she said. “I feel that this infringes on my quality of life. It infuriates me.”

Mina Zolotaryov said she would have to remove the grass and flowers from her front lawn to make space for the construction. “Where is my sky?” she asked, adding that she has lived there for nine years. “How will I be able to sell my house? Who wants to live here?

“I understand they want to be close to their relatives, but it doesn’t explain why they have to do this,” Zolotaryov said. “I don’t want to live behind a tower or castle.”

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