"Nothing has ever happened," longtime Bayside activist Mandingo Tshaka said of community complaints against the 206-26 Northern Blvd. Star Nissan dealership. "Shut them down, padlock them -- that's what I want to happen now."Tshaka said he and others in the vicinity of the dealership have long protested the dealer's alleged practice of maintaining 60 to 70 cars on the lot, which spill over to a street by the Clearview Expressway. The certificate of occupancy only allows 30 cars to be parked in the rear lot."No human being should be forced to face the expressway" just to cross the street, Tshaka complained.On Monday morning, two cars were parked by a fire hydrant and a "no standing allowed" sign on the expressway, and a dumpster surrounded by shattered glass lay in the rear on a sidewalk. But Star Nissan sales manager Angelo Courelas declined to comment and referred questions to colleague and sales manager Gos Tsolkas, who could not be reached.In its Feb. 1 letter to the Queens Borough Commissioner of the DOB, Community Board 11 took up Tshaka's position, saying the dealership's practice is "creating a serious safety issue for pedestrians."It is not the first time the board has expressed its irritation with the dealership.In April 2005, the community board, the DOB, the 111th Precinct and Deputy Borough President Karen Koslowitz all met at the site to discuss the problem.In February 2006, CB 11 sent the DOB a letter claiming the dealership had violated its certificate of occupancy and asked for a review to force compliance.And in August 2006, City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) consulted with neighbors near the dealership. But, the board said in its most recent letter "nothing has changed."Tshaka agreed, saying in a phone interview he has personally visited the dealership many times to no avail. "It makes no difference to talk to them," he said.But it may make no difference talking to the DOB either: CB 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said the board never received a response to its 2006 letter to the city agency complaining about the dealership.The DOB has issued six violations against the site since 1995, the most recent one for construction. It also has 15 complaints on file, including several for certificate of occupancy transgressions, but none of the complaints are active."Basically, [the dealership] just pays the fines," Seinfeld said. "All we can do is write in and tell them about the violations."Reach reporter M. Junaid Alam by e-mail at malam@time
©2008 Community News Group
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