CB 13 wants city to ban food carts in its borders

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Community Board 13 voted Monday to draft a resolution asking the City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to declare the board a “restricted zone” for food carts and voiced its displeasure against a proliferation of pawn shops in the area.

CB 13 Chairman Bryan Block said the carts are “destroying our entire quality of life throughout the board. They’re just depreciating the community within Board 13.”

CB 13 Executive Secretary Sanu Thomas said the carts are out of character with the community and unsanitary, saying he had heard of people who had gotten sick after buying food from the carts.

He also said the carts are “taking away legitimate business from other people in the area,” arguing that the vendors do not have to pay rent like restaurants do.

“I’m sick and tired of them,” he said of the carts.

CB 13 District Manager Lawrence McClean said some of the vendors had been seen dumping their cooking oil into the sewers in Cambria Heights and plugging into electrical lines from electrical poles on the street.

Richard Hellenbrecht, chairman of CB 13’s Land Use Committee, suggested that green and vegetable carts be excluded from the resolution because some areas of the board do not have easy access to healthy food.

But Hellenbrecht withdrew his suggestion after CB 13 members, including Charlie Farruggia, said the exclusion “opens up Pandora’s box.”

The board approved the resolution in a voice vote, with only one member abstaining.

CB 13 also voted to voice its concern over an increase in the number of pawn shops in the board’s territory, which covers Bellerose in northeast Queens along the Nassau County line to Rosedale in the southeast part of the borough.

The board’s resolution asks the Council, the Nassau County executive and the Nassau Legislature to “consider imposing restrictions to deter proliferation of such businesses.”

The board said four pawn shops opened on Jericho Turnpike within hundreds of feet of each other earlier in the year on the Bellerose-Nassau border.

CB 13 voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.

In other business, the board’s Nominating Committee reached out to candidates for next month’s board elections and said all the current officers agreed to run for another one-year term: Block, First Vice Chairwoman Tonya Cruz, Second Vice Chairwoman Angela Augugliaro, Treasurer Anup Ramnauth and Thomas.

CB 13 member Bruno DeFranceschi also nominated Augugliaro for first vice chairwoman and she accepted, while CB 13 member James Goldston nominated Cruz for second vice chairwoman.

The board was given an update on CB 13 member Jerry Wind’s effort to revamp the board’s website, which may go live as early as June.

Wind said he designed a banner for the website, which will be a panoramic shot of Brookville Park, and asked other CB 13 members to give him suggestions for other photos of places he should put on the site.

“I want to make ours is the best,” he said.

CB 13 also heard from Dr. Marc Jacobson, a pediatrician who specializes in cholesterol and weight management in children.

Jacobson advised that parents and grandparents follow what is called the 5-2-1-0 plan for their children: five servings of fruits and vegetables a day; two hours or less of television a day; one hour of physical activity a day; and no sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, iced tea, sports drinks and juice.

“Obesity’s a fast-growing problem in children,” Jacobson said. “They’re now facing high blood pressure. They’re also facing diabetes.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 10:52 am, October 12, 2011
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