ZBA refers Bicon appeal to City’s Legal Dept.

FOREST HILLS—The City’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) has referred the Yale Terrace Neighborhood Association’s (YTNA) appeal over Bicon Dental Implants’ occupancy permit to the City’s Legal Department, according to YTNA member Liz O’Connor.

The Inspectional Services Department (ISD), which oversees the ZBA, and Bicon Dental Implants both did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bicon, a 501 Arborway company, has stirred controversy in the area by demolishing a 19th century house at 21 Yale Terrace for a new development. The neighborhood association had tried to stop the company from doing that demolition and started a concerted effort to have the ISD yank Bicon’s occupancy permit. The neighbors say that Bicon operates a clinic and a lab without permits.

ISD ruled last year against the Yale Terrace Neighborhood Association in yanking the occupancy permit. The neighborhood association appealed that decision to the ZBA, which held a hearing on March 22 and referred it to the City’s Legal Department.

“We had a good turnout from the neighborhood (I counted 14 and there were others that may have been for us but I wasn’t sure), but the ZBA didn’t say much—didn’t let us make a case, just reviewed the request and then said they were referring it to the City’s Legal Department for review,” said O’Connor in an email to the Gazette.

Asked if members were frustrated that they weren’t allowed to present their case, she responded, “I don’t think so, as long as we are moving forward to a reasonable conclusion, which we think (and hope) we are.”

She added, “We did submit pictures of the dental clinic and professional school that Bicon published on its own website. The Bicon team also stated (in front of the ISD commissioner and his attorney) that they operate a dental clinic, and residents of YTNA have been to the clinic for surgical procedures to get implants — so it is hard to see how the Law Department could conceivably conclude that there isn’t a dental clinic or school there.  We’re confident that they’ll reach the only possible conclusion about those uses.”

O’Connor said they were not given a timeline when a decision will be reached, but that the ZBA said it will notify the group about the outcome.

Bicon has a history of controversial expansions and operations that have drawn neighborhood complaints, City citations and City Council hearings.

Berta Berriz, the former owner of 21 Yale Terrace, says that she was “deceived” by a buyer who claimed to be a family-minded local grandmother, into selling the historic house to the neighboring Bicon Dental Implants. Berriz did not want to sell the house to Bicon.

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