Drug-Den Building to be Converted into Condos

A recent zoning board decision has determined the fate of 661 West Broadway, which was once part of a drug raid that led to nine arrests (See article at the bottom of this post). Without a question, this building is an eyesore and needs to be demolished, but as old rental units convert their way to expensive condos, the less affordable options there will be in Long Beach. That being said, I am in favor of the zoning board on this one.

July 26, 2012 Zoning Board Decision:

Case # 2241: Application of Long Beach Real Property Mgmt. of 100 West Park Avenue, Long Beach New York 11561; for a variance from the following sections of the Zoning code of Ordinances of the City of Long Beach, New York: Section 9-105.11 (b) height (d) building area (e) front yard (f) side yard (g) rear yard (i) density (k) off street parking for a new 20 unit condominium building at 661 West Broadway Long Beach, New York also known as Section 59, Block 17, Lot 147 on the Nassau County Land and tax map. 

Decision: Granted/Conditions: Elimination of two units, total 18 units. 25 foot setback for the top floor, property must be demolished within 30 days of vacancy. Effective immediately, landlord is not to renew any lease or grant any new tenancies.

Description of building from 2009 sales listing: Fully leased 25 unit apartment building consisting of 22 studio apartments and 3 one-bedroom apartments built in 1951. Between Grand Blvd and Lindell Blvd on the North Side of West Broadway, one block from the ocean.

Article featured in Long Island Herald: October 22, 2009

Drug raid leads to nine arrests

Nine men were arrested in Long Beach and Island Park as part of a city-wide drug raid between the Long Beach Police Department and the Nassau County District Attorney’s office on Oct. 8. “This raid was about six months in the making,” said Bruce Meyer, a LBPD spokesman. “And it was initiated in response to complaints from the community.”

Meyer said that there were three targeted locations: 661 W. Broadway, 26 E. Market Street and 215 E. Broadway. He said the investigation is continuing, with more arrests expected. The nine men are as follows:

Rance Smith, 33, of Long Beach was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a narcotic drug with intent to sell at West Chester Street.

Kevin Muhundrew, 40, of Long Beach was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a narcotic drug with intent to sell and criminal possession of cocaine on East Market Street.

Elson Forestier, 20, of Long Beach was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a narcotic drug with intent to sell at East Walnut Street.

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23 thoughts on “Drug-Den Building to be Converted into Condos”

  1. It’s nice to know that you are in favor of this. Would you like a 6 foot building behind your house? This monstrosity is going to block out the light, air and breeze for many LB residents who reside around this location. These residents, who petitioned the zoning board to deny this request and vehemently spoke out against it, are certainly not with the zoning board on this one.

    I am appalled that our commisioners who are supposed to uphold our rights voted in favor of this. You refer to it as a “drug den” – do you know that this was a nice garden apartment complex when Mr Shokrian purchased it. Do you know that he is responsible for letting it become the “drug den”? Why can’t Mr Shokrian be held responsible and accountable for maintaining this property? Why should he be allowed to build a 6 story building in a residential area that is zoned for 3 stories?

    Do you know that this exact same proposal was declined back in 2007? Mr Shokrian made absolutely no changes to the building plans for this go around. He simply dusted off the old plans and resubmitted them. Why would they be approved now when they were denied previously?

    I am furious that I will have to live with this building behind my home. I will no longer be able to see the sky out of my back windows and will have 8 or 9 balconies looking down on my backyard. Why are our zoning board commissioners helping to feed the greed of this one man?

  2. Everyone is missing the point here – not one of us who opposes Mr. Shokrian’s high rise condo wants to deny him (or a responsible builder) the opportunity to build at 661 West Broadway. None of us prefers the dilapidated building that is there now; no one denies that there have been crimes committed by its residents.

    What we want is to have construction done that is appropriate for the neighborhood, not appropriate for Mr. Shokrian’s bank account.

    At the Board hearing he kept bemoaning the fact that he has lost money since he bought the property; and that he will lose more if he builds anything smaller. How sad. All of us have suffered in this economy, all of us have seen our property values go down and our taxes increase. All of us will see them go down further once this building goes up. The difference – he decided to purchase this property and accepted the gamble on its future worth; he had the $2.5 million to buy the property; and he chose to let it deteriorate to the state it is in now. Why should we carry the burden of his finances on our backs? His rentals have caused many of the problems in the neighborhood and now he wishes to ride in like a white knight to help us all better our standards of living and free us from fear of the bad element. How nice. The LB police department did that for us already. Not Shokrian. He has no more rights than we, and this ruling, reducing the number of apartments by two, is hardly a compromise. It is laughable. Who is looking out for us – the people who have invested our life savings in these homes and intend to continue living here. I am certain Mr. Shokrian would not choose to purchase any of our homes in the future.

    I feel the Zoning Board let every one of us down with this ruling. Options were mentioned, but apparently ignored. Townhouses would have been welcomed; a building with fewer floors would have been welcomed. Any small sign of respect for the homeowners living there would have been welcomed. If Donald Trump had to go back to the drawing board numerous times before getting an OK for his Jones Beach project, why not Shokrian? I’m sure with all his experience he could have – if he wanted to – come up with a better solution. Instead we are being forced to accept the wishes of this developer – the same man who rushed to demolish Temple Beth Shalom on Rosh Hashanah and has left the lot barren for a year. That was insensitivity. This is total disregard for the community on his part, and short-sightedness on the part of the Zoning Board. They have now set a precedent that does not bode well for the future of the very neighborhoods they are supposed to be protecting. It makes me wonder just how much money and politics play into these decisions… The Zoning Board needs to do some soul searching.

  3. There is that big ugly 6 story rehab building right next door so I’d say that another ugly condo will fit in with the neighborhood, but yeah, I’d be pissed if I lived there and it does seem like just another bad (corrupt?) decision by our city officials.

  4. Was it Shokrian’s plan all along to run the property down and build a 6 story building on the same piece of land?

    He just built the town houses East of the Jackson. Wouldnt the very same plan be profitable in this case as well?

    Bad decision by the zoning board.

  5. I was not at the ZBA, I do not know the specifics of this case. I do know that one of the ways to get a variance is to demonstrate financial hardship. And one of the ways to stop granting of a variance is to show that the financial hardship claimed does not really exist. Nothing wrong with a petition, but that is not how the zoning appeals process works. Also, giving the current real estate/financing market, I’m betting this will end up rental housing, not condos.

  6. Citizens in NYS who feel an agency made an arbitray or unsupported decision can file an Article 78 appeal. It’s not enough to simply dislike a decison, you need to show that the ZBA did not follow its own rules.

    http://www.lawny.org/index.php/housing-self-help-141/housing-and-eviction-self-help-142/192-article-78-proceedings-how-to-appeal-an-agency-decision

    A lawyer could tell you if they think you have a case with a chance of winning, or not. Lawyers will often tell you over the phone for free.

  7. In my old apartment complex, the neighbors elevated their home at least 10-12 feet (probably more) and it completely blocked any light from getting into the windows on that side.

    The two properties are practically pressed right up against each other- they could literally pass solo cups and sugar between the windows.

    I wasn’t affected by it, but it really seems like the LB zoning body doesn’t care about the quality of life for the residents.

    On that same block…

    One day I came home from work and two faux-driveways were put in my block. As if parking wasn’t enough of a headache…

  8. Is anyone surprised? Have things become more or less comfortable in LB over the, at least, last 5 years?

    I like living here and all, hell, I just signed another lease, but wouldn’t buy property here no matter how good of a deal, it seemed. Anyone who would is either not paying attention or wealthy to the point that they would never be inconvenienced by the incessant and burgeoning minutiae that makes people smack their foreheads out of frustration throughout their day-to-day in the city by the sea.

  9. the more remodeling of long beach, the better…….I cant for the life of me understand why everything is such a war…its obvious the old way isnt working……stop being so fieble minded and open your brains to the endless opportunities…. Can anyone say with a straight face, Long Beach doesnt need a face lift?

  10. The city doesn’t need more condo’s it needs more affordable housing.

    I lived across the street from this property for a few years and yes, it was run down but the reality is there are human being that live there and are now going to be displaced.

  11. The last thing lb needs is more luxury condos. The city is mostly filled with elitist rich snobs now though so I guess it makes sense. Normal middleclass people will not be living in lb in 10 years, it’ll be the hamptons of nassau county.

  12. With comments like yours I didn’t think there were any normal people left here. How can you defend having that shithole stay open? If you want an ocean-view move to the ocean.

  13. Of course it was let to run down. Then it makes yet another high rise seem a good idea. LB is turning into Southeast Florida.
    Maybe some people like that. I for one don’t.

  14. OK so let me get this straight. You would rather have a drug den that houses skells and shitheads right around the corner from your house.And please don’t try and dictate what goes there. If want a park or roller hockey rink or skateboard park then buy the property yourself. As far as zoning is concerned, its OK when you or your relative wants a variance for that mother/daughter or fence or 2nd story but a developer cant right?

  15. If the property had been maintained there could have been decent tenants paying a fair rent with the owner making a fair profit.
    Instead it became rundown and is now being replaced by a highrise.
    Why not a two story building which can return a fair profit for the owner while still maintaining the desired character of the neighborhood?

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