By Kathianne Boniello
A survey of Little Neck residents by the Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop was so successful last month company executives asked a neighborhood civic group to put the brakes on its campaign to have Stop & Shop establish a store at the now vacant Grand Union.
In October more than 300 residents attended a Little Neck Pines meeting at the Community Church of Little Neck to listen to a Stop & Shop representative speak on the company’s possible leasing of the Grand Union site. The representative, James Sylvia, asked residents to fill out a survey about what kind of new supermarket design and inventory they would prefer, so the company could see what the community needed.
Little Neck Pines Co-chairman John Ostendorff said Monday Stop & Shop had so many responses to the survey that “they asked us to stop distributing it.”
Stop & Shop spokeswoman Kelly O’Connor said Tuesday the company had gotten “hundreds upon hundreds” of responses from people in Little Neck and Douglaston.
“We received so many it’s going to take additional time to tabulate the results,” she said. O’Connor said the company would like to have preliminary survey results in the next few weeks.
Grand Union at the intersection of Marathon Parkway and Northern Boulevard has been vacant since October 2000 when the supermarket chain shut down. Sylvia said the Little Neck site was sold off before Stop & Shop completed its deal to take over the Grand Union chain. Sylvia said the company would take its time to determine whether it could bring a new supermarket to the area.
The Stop & Shop survey was just one of the issues slated to be discussed at a Thursday night Little Neck Pines meeting at the Community Church of Little Neck, Ostendorff said.
Another issue expected to be dealt with at the meeting was the construction of a three-story, 20,000-square-foot Korean church on 249th Street, just across from the Grand Union property.
Since construction for the church began earlier this year under the city’s as-of-right zoning clause, which allows community facilities such as houses of worship to be built in residential areas without public notice, the Little Neck Pines Civic Association has spearheaded a campaign to have the size of the building reduced.
The Flushing-based Eun Hae Presbyterian Church said it needed to build the new construct to support a growing congregation and church leaders told the TimesLedger in June they would bring positive changes to the community, including after-school programs and resources for the Douglaston-Little Neck branch of the Queensborough Public Library.
While the project has yet to resume since being stopped by the city in June, Ostendorff said the civic was waiting to hear from the city Department of Transportation to see when a traffic study of the neighborhood might take place.
Opponents of the church say the problem centers on land use, the new building is too large for the surrounding community and it would bring additional traffic into an already crowded area. Ostendorff said there has been no contact from the DOT.
“The church never even bothered to reach out to anybody,” Ostendorff said this week. “I have never run into a situation where a church had treated the community it wanted to enter with such disdain and arrogance.”
Ostendorff also said the meeting would include a presentation on the as-of-right zoning law that allows such community facilities to be built in residential areas.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.