Kingsbridge residents resist new development

Residents of a Kingsbridge block are resisting efforts by a developer who plans to build a three-story structure for Volunteers of America, a nonprofit organization.

The group wrote the developer, Ismael Fernandez, stating a desire to lease out the units in the building to veterans in need of housing. But homeowners on Cannon Place are against the idea.

"Most of the places that they have in regard to this, it brings a lot of problems to the area," says Ramon Penzo, who lives on the block.

The residents of Cannon Place have called the city's 311 line to complain and report what they say are unsafe conditions at the work site. Four complaints have been reported since construction began in May, according to the developer's Web site.

Members of the area's neighborhood association say a long history with Fernandez is at play. They say issues with the developer date back to before the project was broached.

"He lied to the [Department of Buildings] and told them he was going to build two two-family homes," says Margaret Groarke, of the neighborhood association. "When they saw what he built, they made him rip it down."

The DOB says that Fernandez?s project has been approved. DOB says the building is considered a community facility and is within zoning guidelines.

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