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Eric Palatnik, an attorney representing the interests of Yee Kon, the owner of the 40-54 Francis Lewis Blvd. lot, appeared before the board to seek approval for a two-story center to be built where half of a demolished single-family home now stands.That home is in the bed of a mapped street -- legal terminology meaning that the site is mapped by the city as an official street but is not used as such. Most other residences on Francis Lewis Boulevard are set further back from the street than the home in question. .Palatnik said his client came before the board seven months ago to build the center on an adjacent property but was rebuffed. The BSA then heard the case and approved the project, although nothing has yet been built there.The attorney said the owner has now purchased an adjoining property and wanted to expand his original plans to accommodate a maximum of 14 classrooms capable of holding up to 250 children, ages 2 to 6. Kon manages a 135-27 38th Ave. Flushing center called Kon Wah Day School that caters to about 120 children. Palatnik claimed there was a "tremendous demand" for a day care center and sought to assuage fears about traffic and smelly diapers by asserting that some of the children would be walk-ins and that all of them would have to be toilet-trained to attend.But area residents were unappeased, and as a glum Palatnik looked on, they took turns lambasting the proposal as ill-advised, unconscionable and dangerous."My block is already constantly congested with cars," one 42nd Avenue resident said. "People already double and triple park there. There is no way I will accept this at all."Palatnik also did little to endear himself to attendees when, in response to a question over Kon's absence, he said he was being well-paid to represent the case.Residents and board members alike said they disapproved of building anything in the bed of Francis Lewis Boulevard, even though the city has no plans on the table to expand the road.After Zoning Committee Chairwoman Christine Haider explained why her committee voted 5-1 against the proposal, citing concerns over inadequate trash storage, a rooftop playground and subcellar classrooms, the board at large voted unanimously to turn down the expansion.Anticipating that the BSA might yet again overrule CB 11, board Chairman Steven Newman said it was necessary to draft a letter to the agency expressing the board's disapproval of the facility since its inception.Former CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece concurred, saying "it was wrong a year ago and it is wrong now."The board also heard from Auburndale resident Mary Donahue and Bayside activist Mandingo Tshaka, who voiced complaints about perceived city inaction over street paving and car dealerships, respectively.Donahue said her 194th Street home is still susceptible to flooding following May and June resurfacing that she contends carelessly paved over manholes and raised the street level to the curb.Tshaka demanded the board hold the city accountable for car dealers who leave too many cars on their lots, saying the status quo leaves pedestrians vulnerable to traffic.Newman said he would look into both issues but said the board had no legal authority to act directly on either matter.Reach reporter M. Junaid Alam by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext 174.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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