Construction has already begun on the business that would abut the backyards of Beechhurst Shores condos on the waterfront of the quiet northeast Queens neighborhood."We are here today because the residents of this development are facing the possibility of having an eating and drinking establishment right behind their homes," Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said at the rally he held Monday.About a dozen Beechhurst Shores residents joined him in the pouring rain to stand their ground against the potential opening of the new establishment on Riverside Drive in Beechhurst Monday. The owner of the property could not be located for comment.Avella said the Department of Buildings had already approved the developer's permit to open the business. The councilman said he did not know if it was a nightclub, restaurant or cabaret, but its permit identified it as an eating, drinking and dancing establishment. "It's a monstrosity whatever it is," Avella said. He has asked the Department of Consumer Affairs whether the business needs a cabaret license. "We're going to be asking the Department of Buildings and the Department of Health to get involved," Avella said.He said there must be buffer zones between manufacturing and residential properties. But the new restaurant's building appeared to be barely 100 feet from the back yards of Beechhurst Shores residents' properties."There are a number of families with young children who live in the neighborhood," resident Nancy Hemmes said.The lot where the building will go is about 30 feet wide and 600 feet long, she added.The Beechhurst Yacht Club currently sits on the property and old boats are stored in front of a white shack. The yacht club also has a pier that appears to be out of use.Residents in the complex said the condos, which are mostly three bedrooms, sell for between $500,000 and $600,000. The gated community sits on the waterfront of Beechhurst and has impressive views of the Throgs Neck and Whitestone bridges."This is one of the few really residential neighborhoods left in northern Queens," resident Florence Estrich said. "It's really a shame to see what's happening. The tax base runs away."President of the condo's board, Harry Soldati, said residents are already protesting a used car lot on the other side of the complex."One of the issues that I'm concerned with the most is the traffic," he said. "If they have a nightclub on the back here, that will add 20, 30 cars."For Soldati, standing outside in the rain with reporters and fellow protestors was just the first step in blocking the project's completion."We're willing to do what we have to do to have our voices heard," he said. Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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