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CB 5 wary of new request by Walgreens on Elliot Ave.

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"I'm concerned about the Walgreens," said City Councilman Dennis Gallagher (D-Middle Village). "They don't understand that our neighborhood is already congested. Instead of doing (it) as of right, they want to reduce the number of parking spots." The chain is scheduled to make a presentation before Community Board 5 April 13 requesting a variance allowing for just 26 parking spaces rather than the 38 required under zoning, said Board Chairman Vincent Arcuri. The chain is also asking for permission to make the building larger by another 2,000 square feet. Walgreens could not be reached for comment.The plans call for razing a portion of the beverage distribution transfer center on the property, Arcuri said, adding that they want fewer parking spaces to accommodate the additional square footage. Walgreens, the second largest drug chain in the nation, has 4,700 stores around the country and 64 in New York. It is a rapidly growing company, opening 436 new stores in the last fiscal year. It has plans to open another 450 in the current fiscal year. Gallagher said he has several issues with the chain's expansion into Middle Village. He said company officials failed to reach out to him and did not send his office the paperwork for the variance requests in a timely fashion. "I'm not happy with their involvement with me and my office," Gallagher said. "I'm leaning towards opposing it right now."Arcuri, however, said he would reserve his judgment until listening to the company's presentation before the Community Board April 13. "We always listen first," Arcuri said. The Juniper Park Civic Association was expected to discuss the issue at its April 14 meeting at Trinity Lutheran Auditorium at 63-70 Dry Harbor Rd. in Middle Village. Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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