State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) said during a community meeting last week that the university plans to have 80 parking spots at the 485-unit dorm, which he called "totally inadequate.""This idea just doesn't make sense and they know it," Padavan said, noting that he spoke to one St. John's student who said there would be nowhere for students at the dorm to park on campus.He criticized the university for constructing the dorm without notification to the community, saying that St. John's "should be a benefit to society.""The Vincentian brothers are rolling around in their graves," Padavan said.Phil Ross of Concerned Residents of Jamaica Estates, a group formed in opposition to the dorm, said St. John's "must think we're idiots" when it rolled out the parking plan to the community.Although he said he has "absolutely no problem with the overwhelming majority of students at St. John's University," Padavan said there is a "lack of supervision" on the campus."There have been hundreds and hundreds of incidents of alcohol abuse," Padavan said. "If you can't control all of it on your campus... how are you going to control it roughly 1/2 a mile away?"Because the dorm conforms to zoning regulations, Padavan said the group cannot go after the legality of the building. Instead, the senator said, it can attempt to point out what it believes are violations and hope that the costs of fighting the infractions will deter St. John's to abandon the dorm."We're going after this project on the building itself and its impact on the community," said Padavan, who noted that the Jamaica Estates group is hiring an inspector to check the dorm's plans.City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who along with state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck) also attended the community meeting, said the dorm would change the character of the surrounding community."We cannot allow them to destroy the fabric of the neighborhood," Avella said. "You have to get them... to violate this contract" with the developer of the dorm.Weprin said the community was "certainly going to make it uncomfortable for St. John's" to build the dorm.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2008 Community News Group
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