Saturday, November 29, 2008

Community Board 9 Rejects Parking Meters - Merchants' Proposal Is Not Approved by Ralph Mancini - Times Newsweekly

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A request on the part of local merchants for the endorsement of parking meters in a residential neighborhood in Ozone Park fell on deaf ears as Community Board 9 narrowly voted against it at their Wednesday, Nov. 12 session held at the Royal Indian Palace and Restaurant in Richmond Hill.

Presented with a petition from local business owners in favor of the installation of parking meters on both sides of 98th Street between 97th and 101st avenues and one from community residents opposed to it, Public Safety Chair Thomas Chiofolo recommended that the Board vote to approve the proposal.

"If you don't put in the meters," argued Chiofolo, "people will park there all day, discouraging others from shopping in the area."

Dr. Vincent Evangelista, who operates his practice at 97-15 101st Ave., stated his case for the addition of eight parking meters on his block to generate car turnover resulting in more customers for local businesses.

"You can still park there from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. Plus, the city gets more revenue," he stated.

In addition, the doctor informed that metered parking wouldn't impact most residents since the majority of them have their own driveways to pull into.

A nearby community member, however, pointed out that most of her neighbors on the block in question don't use their driveways, which would force her to park her vehicle two to three blocks away.

South Queens activist David M. Quintana, a 39-year resident of Ozone Park, supported her claims by adding, "This is not a thriving business community. Parking meters are ridiculous and would only be a burden on the people of Ozone Park."

Board member Evelyn Baron took issue with the 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule, declaring that she would only give her approval if the daily time restriction were reduced by one hour so that it wouldn't infringe on people returning from work.

Fellow Board member John Carter was of the same opinion and didn't agree with forcing residents coming home at 5 p.m. to spend their quarters on parking everyday.

"I can't see how eight spots is going to make a difference," said Nick Comaianni prior to the Board's roll-call vote. "To me, metered parking is just another way for the city to make money."

The proposal was defeated by a 16-to-12 tally.

Land use

Land Use Committee Chair Sherman Kane spoke of the Board's opposition to the paving over of land on the part of the Korean Presbyterian Church, located at 80- 10 Lefferts Blvd. in Kew Gardens.

District Manager Mary Ann Carey noted that an inspection of the area was completed by the Department of Buildings, but she never heard back from the city agency.

A "giant" yellow backhoe has already been seen there, according to Board 9 Chairperson Andrea Crawford, who was worried that work may commence there before any action can be taken to stop it from taking place.

Changes in ULURP process

Those in attendance were made privy to a part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's charter revision proposal, which would strip community boards from having a say in the Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure.

Since 1976, the charter's intent in requiring ULURP was to establish a standardized procedure that would give community boards (and other commissions) the right to publicly review the applications of land use in the city.

"It's a dismantling of our community boards," said Crawford. "We are the front lines of what happens our community. Contact your local Council members about this."

Cell tower

In his Parks, Recreation and Environment Committee report, J. Richard Smith alerted Board members to the upcoming installation of a cell communications tower at 117- 01 Park Lane South in Richmond Hill.

The tower, he said, will help apprise first responders of emergency situations.

Local crime report

P.O. Christopher Gonzales of the 102nd Precinct updated the Board of a recent murder in which one individual allegedly killed another by hitting the victim with a crowbar.

The incident reportedly occurred in the area of Metropolitan Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in Kew Gardens.

The suspect and victim were both residents of Kew Gardens, said the officer.

Remembering Nancy Cataldi

During her District Manager's report, Carey remembered the late Nancy Cataldi, former president of the Richmond Hill Historical Society, who died in October.

"She was an inspiration to our community. She was a wonderful friend and a very active community leader," she said.

Carey mentioned her many efforts in trying to preserve the history of Richmond Hill, such as her work in the attempted restoration of the Richmond Hill Republican Club.

RHHS Founding President and Board 9 First Vice Chairperson Ivan Mrakovcic reported that Cataldi's group would not disband, but he also added that she would not be replaced as the historical organization's actual president.

Liquor licenses

The Board endorsed on-premise liquor license renewals for Las Nuevas Delicias De Acapulco Corporation, located at 76-15 Jamaica Ave. in Woodhaven; and Altiff Corporation (d.b.a. Cherry Blue), located at 107-12 101st Ave. in Ozone Park.

An on-premise beer license renewal request was also approved for Baba Supermarket, located at 124-12 Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill.

Community Board 9 typically meets on the second Tuesday of the month at various locations in Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park.

For further details on the next meeting, call 1-718-286-2689.