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Queens Village may get second poultry shop

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The new store, Zamzm Live Poultry, is at 212-50 Hempstead Ave. near Jamaica Avenue and has already installed signs advertising its business, the butchering of live chickens and other fowl for home consumption. No one was at the shop on Tuesday morning, and the identity of the owner could not be determined. However, Fernando Gomez, an employee of the used-car dealership next door, said renovations of the store began several months ago. The owner of the shop had hoped to open this week, Gomez said, but had not yet gotten the proper paperwork.If it opens, Zamzm will follow on the heels of Zameer Live Poultry Market, which opened in May at 98-04 Springfield Blvd. as protesters picketed outside. Led by state Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village), opponents of the shop feared the butchering of live chickens would attract rats and vermin and cause an unbearable smell, creating unsanitary conditions and lowering property values. The community does not yet seem to have taken notice of Zamzm, and Clark could not be reached for comment.While Zameer sits in a mixed-use zone that allows such an operation, Clark has said the shop is inappropriate for the block, a mixture of businesses, residences, a group home with teenage mothers and a church with a day-care facility. Clark's district office is across the street. Zamzm, the new shop, is sandwiched between the used-car dealership and the Long Island Rail Road tracks, with the nearest residences more than 100 feet away across Jamaica Avenue.Any poultry shop must secure a certificate of occupancy from the city Department of Buildings and pass inspections by the city Department of Environmental Protection. A spokeswoman for the Buildings Department said she had not yet heard of Zamzm, and it was unknown if the shop had installed the proper equipment to pass muster with the Department of Environmental Protection. It could also not be determined what type of zoning Zamzm sits in."I have to hope and pray it's not in the proper zoning," City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) said. Comrie hopes to keep future poultry stores from opening in residential areas, placing them in purely industrial zones rather than mixed-use areas. To that end, he and Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona) are trying to introduce legislation that would prohibit slaughterhouses from opening within 200 feet of residences. They had hoped to do so this summer, Comrie said, but are rewriting their bill after being told it would not stand up to a legal challenge. Any zoning change, however, would take time and the approval of many layers of city government, with the current poultry stores grandfathered in.Such shops have become an issue in other parts of Queens, and state Sen. John Sabini (D-Jackson Heights) introduced legislation in July requiring the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to inspect small animal slaughterhouses for cleanliness on a yearly basis, with fines and the threat of closure for three failed examinations in a row. Currently, the department inspects the shops at its discretion.Once a live poultry store opens, it must then meet "performance standards" for smell that the DEP sets for all city businesses. Comrie said while his office had not received any calls about odor at the Springfield Boulevard poultry store, his constituents had stopped him in the street to complain. On Tuesday morning, an offensive smell of indeterminate origin wafted from the side of the property on which Zameer's store sits.Gomez, the employee at the car dealership, said he would wait before judging Zamzm on the latest poultry store. But recalling when a third poultry shop opened on Jamaica Avenue several years ago, he said, "I remember the last time - the smell was very bad."Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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