Zoning board not ready to rule on Irish center
The city Zoning Board of Appeals will wait for survey information about property adjacent to the proposed Irish Cultural Center site before deciding whether a zoning determination supporting the project is correct.
The issue was tabled during a meeting Tuesday at which the board met for 10 minutes behind closed doors with city Assistant Corporation Council Daniel Gartenstein before agreeing to delay a decision.
“We, as a board, have not yet received all the information we requested from outside,” said board Chairman James Rodden.
Opponents of the project are challenging an opinion by city Building Inspector Joseph Stafford that the site at 32 Abeel St. is properly zoning for the Irish Cultural Center because, in his opinion, it fronts a section of the “RT District” that allows commercial use of properties.
“The ICC property has frontage along the West Strand right-of-way,” he said. “It’s one district, two different sections of the same district. The RT is the actual district, and in that district it lays out a specific section that’s designed for commercial and residential or commercial and light industrial.”
The Irish Cultural Center developers purchased four parcels that have been combined into a single parcel to make up the project site. Of the four parcels, only one had frontage to the correct zoning designation, with that parcel qualifying for the designation because it had a rightof-way from an abutting property that is appropriately zoned. Individually, none of the parcels would have been large enough to be approved for any building, officials have said.
“The way it’s described [in the law] is frontage in that area,” Stafford said. “So if you have a parcel that fronts on what they call the allowable area, then your parcel is in that allowable area.”
City Building Safety Division Deputy Chief Thomas Tiano said the zoning board is waiting for an independent review of records from 1935 and 1982 to determine what conditions were placed on property to the south of the proposed center.
Attorney Warren Replansky, who is representing neighbors of the site, last month told the board that maps already show that the proposed center would not have any frontage to the correct district.