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CB 7 Turns Down Rooftop Parking On Food Market

Community Board 7 rejected an application to add 53 parking spaces on the rooftop of an Asian supermarket on Main St., in the heart of the Flushing shopping center.
The 20 to 16 negative count, however, did not halt the Board of Standards and Appeals’ (BSA) previous September 1997 approval of the 24,300 square foot, 74-car project, said Chuck Apelian, chairman of CB7’s land use committee.
Speaking before a cheering SRO audience, Councilwoman Julia Harrison lashed out against the BSA’s use of vague legal language, such as "General Use, Group Category 6."She charged, the "BSA does not use the English language nor refer to comprehensive written resolutions to indicate its actions taken on such matters, nor in any other matter."
Earlier in the day, Harrison had fired off an angry letter to James Chin, chairman of the BSA, saying, "I will not rest until I succeed in convincing your agency to conduct its business in an open manner." She also cautioned Chin to avoid the impression that all matters before his agency are a "done deal."
According to a 1991 ruling, the variances granted by the BSA to the Green-Point Bank, allowed the current owner, Jeffrey Wu, to build a supermarket on a 24,000 square foot lot behind the former bank building. The rooftop parking lot was recommended by the BSA as a means of cutting congestion.
Speaker after speaker vividly described the filth, stench, traffic hazards, double parking, stop-and-go congestion, noise, and air pollution from trucks and buses currently on Main St. between Maple and Sanford Aves.
Anthony Chin, whose offices are adjacent to the proposed market, described his concern for his patients’ safety. Civic activist Richard Jannaccio described the project as "a bait and switch. This will be settled in court."
One speaker revealed that there are 485 shops within a small area surrounding the proposed supermarket. There are already three supermarkets within a block of the proposed new one.
Apelian, who chaired the meeting, told the audience that an original variance had been granted to the Green -Point Savings Bank in 1991 to permit a major expansion of the bank’s headquarters. This construction never took place, and the bank sold the property to its current owners in 1996. Last year, he said, Standards and Appeals granted the variance to build a food market.
Jack Lester, an attorney speaking in behalf of the West Flushing Civic Assoc., told the audience that the variance granted to the food market was not valid because there was no analysis of the impact of the traffic on the community. He also questioned the BSA’s analysis of the project’s economic impact on the community. He promised legal action at a scheduled hearing before the BSA in March.
During preliminary hearings held by CB7, the developer agreed to the following three stipulations: the hours of store operation will be limited between 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., the Sanford and Maple aves.’ gates will be locked after hours, and special screen planting will be maintained on the Sanford and Maple Aves. portions of the roof.

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