“We have an interest to build something very beautiful,” Shokrian said. “It’s not to going to be an extension of Grandell, I can promise you that.”
Still, residents said that the complex will tower over a residential neighborhood and eliminate the light and ocean breeze, while lowering home values and exacerbating parking and traffic problems.
Slack and others said that they are not opposed to a new development, as long as it abides by the city’s zoning laws.
Feller said that more than 300 residents signed a petition opposing the project, while others — including Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) — sent letters calling on the zoning board to deny the variances.
“This proposal will perpetuate the nearly block-long brick wall of the Grandell, eliminating [the] sky and open space,” Feller said. “Why weren’t the interests of the community put ahead of the interests of the developer? Diminished property values, a lack of light and air, and reduced parking are our future.”
Shokrian, who also built the Riverside Beach and White Sands condominiums in Long Beach, said he has been trying to win approval for his latest project for five years, but was denied twice by the zoning board, mainly because the proposed building exceeded the height limit and did not meet the city’s requirement of 25 off-street parking spaces or its minimum front, rear and side yard setbacks.
Residents who live on the south side of West Penn and in adjacent homes on Grand Boulevard say the development will be too close to their properties. “If he builds to the code that he wants, right to the end of the property … I can serve [tenants] tea off my back deck,” Grand Boulevard resident Patty Finn told the board. “That’s how close it would be to me.”
Shokrian told the board that other buildings on West Broadway are comparable in height, and insisted that the project would not have a negative impact on neighbors. He also said that the existing building has no off-street parking, while the development would provide one parking space for each apartment. “We are going to have 20 parking spaces where it didn’t exist before,” he said.