In November 2000...
By Kathianne Boniello
Borough President Claire Shulman approved an application from a Bayside car dealership in December to construct a second floor on its building as long as the dealer maintains a barrier across an entrance from a residential street.
In November 2000 Community Board 11 approved the application from Helms Bros. car dealership at 207-22 Northern Blvd. by a vote of 28-5. CB 11 includes the communities of Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens, Hollis Hills, and Auburndale.
The Helms Bros. variance application inspired protest from civic leader Mandingo Tshaka, who said during the November CB 11 meeting that he had found about 20 complaints filed with the Board of Standards and Appeals from area residents opposed to any expansion by the dealer.
If approved by the city Board of Standards and Appeals, the variance request would allow Helms Bros. to construct a 5,000-square-foot second floor for office space, storage and an employees lounge. Pat Pacifico, a spokesman for the BSA, said the agency has held several hearings on the Helms Bros. variance and was slated to issue a decision March 6.
The Helms Bros. property has access to both Northern Boulevard and 45th Road, which is a residential street, but the 45th Road entrance was virtually eliminated by trees and a fence. Shulman approved the variance application on the condition that the fencing at the 45th Road entrance be maintained.
Under no circumstances should there be any access to the facility from 45th Road and the fencing as it now exists should remain closed, properly screened and in good maintenance, Shulman said in her Dec. 20 recommendation.
Members of CB 11s zoning committee said in November they approved the variance application because it appeared that an additional floor would not exacerbate existing problems in the area, such as heavy traffic or car fumes.
At the time the zoning committee said it had no knowledge of the complaints Tshaka said were filed with the BSA and had received a petition from residents of 45th Road who were not opposed to the Helms Bros. variance.
In its application Helms Bros. claimed increased storage space on the proposed additional floor would reduce delivery traffic to the dealership. Helms Bros. now does work preparing new cars for delivery and motor work.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2001 Community News Group
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