Before the dust from the demolition of a Bellerose icon settled, civic leaders complained that the developers of a controversial proposed hotel at the former Frozen Cup site are not living up to their promise of being good neighbors.
As the Bellerose ice cream shop was being demolished last Thursday, workers for the developers tore out bushes from a home adjacent to the site.
“They just cut them all on my driveway,” said 249th Street homeowner Diana Weiss, who claimed one of the workers “was very abrupt and he just said he was cutting them down because it was on his property.”
When the Frozen Cup property, at 249−05 Jamaica Ave., was bought by a consortium of investors last year, civic leaders held protests at the site, claiming the property was not ideal to build a hotel.
“It’s not an area to have all these hotels,” said Mike Augugliaro of the Queens Colony Civic Association, noting that a restaurant or retail is more of a need in the neighborhood.
Civic leaders complained that there were already three hotels in the neighborhood within a mile of each other: a Howard Johnson on Jamaica Avenue, the Floral Park Motor Lodge on Jericho Turnpike by Remsen Lane and a Quality Inn on Jericho that is owned by the proposed developers of the new hotel.
Weiss said the bushes in her backyard were untouched and said her driveway greenery is on the property line and may have encroached on the Frozen Cup site.
But she said the developer should have spoken to her before cutting the bushes down.
“I was just upset because nobody came here and said they were going to do it. I just wish the owner had come here,” Weiss said. “To look out the front of the house and see something that you think belongs to your house is shocking.”
Harshad Patel, one of the site’s investors, did not return repeated requests for comment.
Augugliaro said the situation “proved that they’re not going to be good neighbors.”
“Right off the bat now it shows you how they are,” he said of the developers. “And I’m not going to stand for it.”
The demolition was staged as the investors had yet to receive approval from the city Department of Buildings to construct the hotel.
The agency disapproved plans on Jan. 14 because they exceeded floor−area ratio requirements and there were problems involving compliance with the energy code, according to a city Department of Buildings spokeswoman.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.
©2009 Community News Group
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