Hotel developer tries again

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Springfield Gardens parents will be joining City Councilman James Sanders (D−Laurelton) at a meeting in Manhattan later this month to implore the city not to grant special permission for the construction of a controversial motel.

Sanders announced that he would be taking community members to the city Board of Standards and Appeals Feb. 24 to attend a hearing about developer Saliesh Ghandi’s application to resume construction on a lodge at 219−05 N. Conduit Ave., down the block from Springfield Gardens High School.

The city forced Ghandi, who has similar motels that charge hourly rates in Brooklyn, to stop construction in September after the area was rezoned.

“The gloves are off and I’m looking for a KO,” the councilman said in a statement.

Residents and parents who live near the construction site have frequently protested against the motel’s creation because they said they feared it would attract seedy customers who would use the lodge as a sex stop. Sanders arranged for a protest in May outside of Ghandi’s Great Neck, L.I., home.

“The community has really showed that when we come together, all things are possible and this is why the motel hasn’t been constructed already,” the councilman said.

Ghandi could not be reached for comment.

Construction took place all summer, but was halted by the city’s Department of Buildings on Sept. 5 when 220 blocks of Laurelton and Springfield Gardens were rezoned by the Council. The designation change changed the area where the lodge was to be located from C2−2 zoning to C1−1, which bars motels.

The developer had not finished erecting the building’s foundation and therefore could not continue, according to Sanders.

Ghandi sent an application to the BSA in November to appeal the construction halt and asked the city agency to grant a special variance. Sanders said he and his constituents would persist until Ghandi withdrew his plans.

“It has been a long road and now we find ourselves in the final round of this battle,” he said. “Although we will go back into the courtroom to face Goliath, be assured that we will carry the spirit of David.”

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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