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Whitestone owner asks for canopy

"I'm not here to have enemies, I'm here to do business," Brusic said as he took a moment to peek up from the hood of a truck he was repairing. "It cost so much money to have an attorney, to go back and forth like this for no apparent reason at all."

At a Nov. 13 Community Board 7 meeting, the board members voted 30-5 to put off a decision to allow Brusic to erect the canopy. Although many of the speakers at the meeting did not oppose his raising a canopy, two Whitestone residents living on 10th Avenue complained in general about the gas station.

Neal Vartanian opposed the station's operation because he said it brings in heavy commercial traffic on Clintonville Street and diesel fumes. Nearby resident Bessie Lee said she stays up at nights because of the smell of diesel fuel and blaring lights.

But Brusic, who has had to hire a lawyer to shepherd his application for the canopy through the community board, said his station is not the problem. The commercial trucks that lumber down Clintonville Street are heading to nearby manufacturing plants, he said.

      As for the accusations that he stays open all night and keeps his marquee well lit at all times, Brusic said, "I close at 10 p.m. every night except for Sundays at 8 p.m. I don't want to be here all the time. I have a life to live."

Six years ago, Brusic opened up the business with two other partners. When he first surveyed the corner gas station at 10-02 Clintonville St., he said, it was unkempt and dirty with debris strewn all over. "I think Shea Stadium was cleaner than this was," he said.

To clean up the station, Brusic said, he had to invest more and more of his money after his partners left. A resident of Whitestone for 15 years, Brusic said he is satisfied with the refurbishment of his station.

Brusic said he thought the community's angst over his gas station was merely a matter of misunderstanding. "If they see a big truck, they blame me," he said. "There will always be someone against something."

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