DOB yanks motel’s permits

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A developer’s plan to build a controversial motel near Springfield Gardens High School was blocked by the city Friday just weeks after the community was alerted that the construction was continuing.

The city Department of Buildings revoked the permits for the construction of the lodge at 219-05 N. Conduit Ave.

Residents have been protesting the building of the motel and its developer, Saliesh Ghandi, because several of his other establishments in Brooklyn have offered rooms at hourly rates and community members fear it might attract illicit activities to the area.

In October, the department had initially given Ghandi the green light to restart his construction, which started two years ago, but reversed its decision when the agency discovered he did not adhere to new zoning rules.

“In October 2010, the permits were renewed in error, and as a result the department has stopped all work at the site and notified the developer that we intend to revoke the permits because the developer failed to complete the hotel in the allowed time frame,” DOB spokesman Ryan FitzGibbon said in a statement.

Ghandi could not be reached for comment.

Construction was halted in 2008 after the city rezoned the area and the land where the motel was planned was changed from a C-2 designation to a C-1 designation, which prohibits motels. Ghandi appealed to the city Board of Standards and Appeals, which ruled in his favor in April 2009.

Lawrence McClean, district manager of Community Board 13, said a group of residents filed a lawsuit against Ghandi without the board’s knowledge and the legal action stalled the construction for more than a year when the developer was given a new permit in October.

A week after the BSA ruled in Ghandi’s favor, community activist Michael Duncan said he had hired an attorney to look into the matter, but no one could confirm if he is the one who filed the suit. Duncan could not be reached for comment.

McClean said he was made aware of both the suit and the October permit renewal last month when he was alerted to the reconstruction of the motel. He and the board have been strong opponents of the lodge for years and have also pushed the city to deny its construction approvals.

“We expedited the zoning and testified against it at the BSA three times. The concern, of course, was more of the reputation of the developer than just the motel itself,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 11:02 am, October 12, 2011
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