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Board 11 votes against 183rd Street OTB site

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Community Board 11 in Bayside voted to disapprove a new Fresh Meadows location for an Off Track Betting site at the group’s Monday meeting after several residents protested the move, citing a lack of parking in the neighborhood and security issues.

The Fresh Meadows OTB has been trying to move from its current location in the Fresh Meadows Shopping Center at 61-44 188th St. and Horace Harding Expressway to 183-07 Horace Harding Expressway, the other side of the LIE.

The move is subject to the approval of the OTB site selection board, comprised of the directors of City Planning and the Office of Management and Budget, Borough President Helen Marshall, Comptroller William Thompson and the commissioner of Citywide Administrative Services.

CB 11’s decision to not support the move will be forwarded as a recommendation to the Off Track Betting Site Selection Board and is not a binding ruling. After a lengthy debate about whether or not to vote for a letter of approval or a letter of objection, CB 11 voted 35-6 to oppose the move.

CB 11 includes the communities of Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens, Hollis Hills and Auburndale.

More than a dozen residents of 183rd Street turned out to oppose the move, saying parking in the area was limited and that with a bar next door, the OTB customers would create quality-of-life problems for the residents.

“This neighborhood is very quiet. The only thing they’re going to do is bring noise and congestion and problems,” one man said. Referring to the OTB slogan “We’re guests in your neighborhood,” the man said “you’re uninvited guests.”

Denis McManus, OTB senior vice president, said if OTB were to obtain the site, it would create a state-of-the-art OTB branch. The site is now home to Tumbles, a children’s play area.

McManus said the 4,000-square-foot site would include seating for 60 patrons, including a 20-seat smoking room, security, bathrooms and automated tellers machines for people to place private bets.

In other news, CB 11 also heard a report from Ann Jawin, director of the embattled Queens Women’s Center.

Jawin, who is battling the city to keep her group in its Fort Totten home, said her case against the city Fire Department, which oversees the land, was moving ahead in court this week.

Fort Totten in Bayside was slated to be taken over from the federal government by the city Fire Department in January. The Fire Department said the Queens Women’s Center must leave its building for the transfer to be completed and issued the group the first in a series of eviction notices Dec. 13.

Jawin has criticized the city and the Fire Department as unwilling to negotiate and unconcerned with the fate of the approximately 100 to 150 women a week her group serves.

The Fire Department has said Jawin was well-informed about the impending eviction when she first took over the space in 1997.

The Queens Women’s Center was founded in 1987 and provides a range of services to women and families, including job training, domestic violence programs, counseling, funding and training for women who want to start their own business, among other things.

Though the Queens Women’s Center also has space at Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, Jawin has said the group cannot duplicate its Fort Totten programs there because of a lack of space.

“We were told there would be an open process” to allow the Queens Women’s Center to apply for permanent status at the fort, she said.

Jawin brought her case to the courts in March, asking for an injunction against a city eviction notice. After several delays, Jawin said the court case was expected to be heard May 8.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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