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Land Use Committee kills Whitestone sidewalk café

Nonna's Pizzeria & Trattoria's application to build a sidewalk café was struck down in the City Council's Land Use Committee last week.
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A Whitestone pizzeria’s application to build a sidewalk café, which met strong community opposition, was struck down by the City Council’s Land Use Committee last week.

The committee unanimously voted against approving the proposal by Nonna’s Pizzeria & Trattoria, which would have added a 320-square-foot space to the restaurant that could accommodate 22 additional chairs and 11 tables.

“A sidewalk café is simply wrong for this location,” said state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who actively opposed the proposal. “The site is surrounded by mom-and-pop stores in a quiet residential neighborhood. That is why the café application was immediately met with significant opposition and raised many concerns for the residents on this block.”

The pizzeria, at 22-30 154th St., first presented its plan to Community Board 7 in September and it was voted down 35-1.

Worries arose that the eatery’s enlarged clientele would cause a lot of noise and limit parking spaces for neighboring businesses and residents.

Board members also said they were worried approving the sidewalk café, which would have been the first of its kind in the neighborhood, would set a precedent for other restaurants to do the same thing in the community.

Nonna’s Pizzeria’s manager and owners were not available for comment.

Despite CB 7’s rejection of the plan, the city Department of Consumer Affairs gave it the green light earlier this year.

Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside), a CB 7 member at the time of the original application, voted against the proposal in September and said he would vote it down a second time if it reached a Council vote. He did not need to, however, as it never made it past committee.

“The impact of this victory should ensure all future applicants make every effort to address the concerns of the community board and neighboring residents,” Vallone said.

Vallone said that in addition to being unpopular with the community, the pizzeria’s original application contained inaccuracies when it was first submitted.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 12:00 am, March 28, 2014
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