By Alexander Dworkowitz
A plan to allow the continuation of storage of cars with a new business on 120th Street in College Point was approved by Community Board 7 at its meeting on Monday night.
The property, located at 23-40 and 23-16 120th St., currently is leased by Enterprise Rent-A-Car for storing its cars.
The owner is looking to sell the property to the Helms Bros. Mercedes-Benz dealer, located at 208-24 Northern Blvd. in Bayside. The car dealership wants to use the property for temporary storage, said Frank Macchio, third chair of CB 7, which covers Flushing, Whitestone, College Point and Bay Terrace.
Helms Bros. will remove a trailer on the property and erect a 9,000-square-foot building on a property of 85,000-square-foot parcel if they get the needed variance, Macchio said.
“They want to pave it, clean it up and store cars there getting ready for delivery,” Macchio said.
The planned use differs little from the current use of Enterprise, said Joseph P. Morsellino, a lawyer speaking for Helms Bros.
Once or twice a week, a delivery truck capable of carrying as many as 20 cars would drop off vehicles at the lot, Morsellino said. A smaller carrier capable of holding as many as three cars would come to pick up those cars throughout the week to deliver the vehicles to the dealership in Bayside.
Cars would be treated inside the building and parked on the property’s lot.
Morsellino insisted that the new tenants would create less noise for the community than Enterprise.
“It’s a lot less than the actual use of the rental,” he said.
Helms Bros. needs a variance because it is seeking to use a piece of property zoned for commerce for what is technically a manufacturing purpose.
Enterprise did not need such a variance because it came to the property before it was rezoned from manufacturing to commerce in 1996.
In a committee meeting about the proposal, CB 7 members voted to recommend approval of the variance based on several conditions.
The board asked Helms Bros. not to unload cars on 120th Street, to fence in the property, to set the building back from the property line, to point all lighting away from nearby homes and to not use an external speaker system.
Employees of the Helms Bros. should park on the property and not on the street, the committee also decided.
With these recommendations, the board voted to approve the variance unanimously. The variance heads on to the Queens Borough President’s Office for further recommendation before the city Board of Standards and Appeals makes a final decision on the request.
Fred Mazzarello, president of the College Point Board of Trade, had his organization take a survey of how nearby residents felt about the proposal.
Some of those residents were not happy with the noise level coming from Enterprise and feared that the new use would do nothing to reduce the noise level.
“I feel this is going to be the same thing that we got now,” said Frank Coppola, who lives across the street from the property.
The board also voted to deny a variance that would allow the Korean Presbyterian Church in Flushing to provide its parishioners with accessory parking on their premises.
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.