By Connor Adams Sheets
A representative for Borough President Helen Marshall indicated at a hearing last week that she would most likely not be supporting an application by the owners of a Bayside gas station to extend a variance that has not been renewed since expiring in 2000.
Marshall’s chief of staff, Alex Rosa, said Marshall would be following the example of Community Board 11, which voted Feb. 7 not to support extending the long-outstanding variance, which the Getty gas station at 204-12 Northern Blvd. needs to have in order to continue operations at the location.
“The borough president is standing with the community on this and we wish you luck,” said Rosa, who spoke on behalf of Marshall, who was not present for the discussion and had not made a recommendation as of Tuesday afternoon.
Eric Palatnik, an attorney representing the gas station, said the variance for the gas station expired in 2000, meaning it has operated without one for 11 years. The station was seeking a 10-year variance to begin this year.
“This gas station has been operating in the location since the 1950s,” Palatnik said. “We’re here now to extend the term of the existing variance …. They didn’t have it in their books. It was an oversight, they didn’t see it.”
He also stressed that there have been no physical changes to the station since 2000 except for the installation of replacement gas pumps.
But the community’s concerns were not assuaged by such concerns.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said at the hearing that he did not support the request because the station’s owners were given 60 days to submit an application for a new variance after the outstanding nature of the variance was discovered, but they took nearly a year to do so.
“This application should be denied and the applicant should submit a totally new application for a variance,” Avella said.
Longtime Bayside community activist Mandingo Tshaka, who lives near the gas station, went a step further, saying it does not belong in his residential neighborhood. He said he believes that two gas stations are only allowed to be located in close proximity there because it is home to many black residents against whom he believes there is a racial agenda.
“All these problems have been dumped in the area of Bayside where my people live,” he said. “I wouldn’t want a gas station there because it’s lethal and toxic.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.