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Leaders differ on Fairway opening

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Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said at the board’s Monday night meeting that Fairway Markets in Douglaston is expected to open its doors this spring, though the Douglaston Civic Association president has expressed doubts the grocery store will open before the summer.

“We’re anxiously waiting for it to open,” Iannece said at the CB 11 meeting at MS 158 in Bayside Monday night. “It’s planning to open in early spring. We look forward to that.”

But Douglaston Civic Association President Eliott Socci said that while he would like to see Fairway come in around the spring, he expects it will not open until the summer because it still needs to receive work permits from the city.

“I’m saying they’re probably going to open in June,” Socci said. “They said they’re going to start working after the first of the year. They can’t give a date when they’ll be open, but they guarantee they’ll be open next year.”

The upscale market, which is replacing Waldbaum’s at 242-02 61st Ave. in Douglaston, was originally scheduled to open earlier this year, but the date was then pushed back to November after its plans stalled with the city Board of Standards and Appeals. Waldbaum’s closed last February.

Community residents said the store will provide welcome relief for many of those living in the area, especially seniors, who are often forced to walk up to 1 mile to Stop & Shop, which is the closest market to the Fairway site, or take a cab.

“To them, it will mean everything,” Socci said of Fairway. “It’s critical. There are hundreds, even thousands, of people who are directly affected by the absence of a food store in that location.”

The store is expected create 300 new union jobs in Douglaston.

During Monday night’s meeting, CB 11 members voted 17-16 to support the city extending a variance to allow BMW of Bayside to continue to use its site at 217-07 Northern Blvd. as an auto dealership.

Iannece said the resolution included a number of conditions to address residents’ concerns about the business, including that all cars being worked on must be parked on site, fencing at the location must be repaired and maintained, after-hour tow trucks have to turn off engines and flashing lights on site and individuals at the location do not play excessively loud music or hold barbecues.

Iannece and others who voted for the resolution said they believed the BSA would only take the conditions into consideration if the board passed the proposal.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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