Exxon station can stay on Bell

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Community Board 11 voted this week to allow a 77-year-old gas station on Bell Boulevard to remain in operation as well as approving the renaming of two northeast Queens streets after labor leader Ron Carey and a former CB 11 member.

The board voted 33-6 at its monthly meeting Monday in favor of allowing a Bell Boulevard-based Exxon/Mobil station to continue operating as a gas station after the site’s owners applied for a special permit.

The locale has been the site of a gas station since 1932 and board members mostly agreed that the Exxon station had been a good neighbor. The permit allows for the 20,794-square-foot station to operate at a site that is zoned for 15,000-square-foot businesses, CB 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said.

“I have inspected many gas stations and this is the cleanest I’ve ever seen,” said Christine Haider, CB 11’s Zoning Committee chairwoman.

The board became concerned after the gas station made a proposal to place a convenience store at the site, but the site’s owner has not moved forward with that project, Seinfeld said. In its vote, the board stipulated that the station’s owners could not allow cars to be parked overnight at the site and that only cars that were being serviced at the station could be parked there during the day.

The board also voted in favor of renaming two Bayside streets after Ron Carey, a Bayside-based Teamsters union president who led a massive strike against the United Parcel Service in 1997 and died late last year, and Sol Soskin, a CB 11 member of 40 years who also died last year.

CB 11 approved the proposal to rename 28th Avenue between 203rd and 206th streets after Carey with a vote of 30-10. Carey’s children told board members their father fought hard for union members.

“He was an outstanding labor leader,” said Dan Carey, Ron Carey’s son. “His legacy will never be forgotten. My dad was about people and he deserves this.”

The board voted 38-1 in favor of renaming 215th Street between Northern Boulevard and 45th Road after Soskin.

But board member Frank Skala said he did not approve of either street renaming.

“If your name is Francis Lewis, you get a street named after you,” he said. “If it’s Marie Curie, you get a school. But I’ve never heard of Ron Carey and I’m a union member.”

CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece criticized a controversial project to construct a Korean church on 210th Street. Neighbors of the site have complained that the church would cause parking problems along the street.

“We’ve said this on numerous occasions that this has nothing to do with race, ethnicity or religion, but with land use,” Iannece said. “This facility is being built within 250 feet of a Con Edison transformer, so we hope the [city] Department of Buildings will not allow this facility to go forward.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:29 pm, October 10, 2011
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