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CB 11 variance shifts Scobee Diner parking lot

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Phil Corso

Parking patterns at the former Scobee Diner site in Little Neck will be changing to accommodate a two-story commercial building there for a bank and dentist’s office, Community Board 11 said.

The board’s Little Neck Zoning Committee reviewed a request put out by Great Neck-based company Lion Bee Equities to determine how the new building, at 252-29 Northern Blvd., might influence traffic flow on Northern Boulevard. The board approved a variance by a 24-18 vote that would move the parking lot toward the back of the property and relocate a bus stop near the site.

According to a CB 11 committee report, the Scobee Diner property will soon be home to a two-story building, with a Citi Bank operating on its first floor and a dentist’s office on the second. The once-popular diner closed in 2010 when its owners said rising rent costs had taken a harsh toll on the eatery. The building has sat vacant ever since.

The report said it will change the way vehicles can drive through its 17-spot parking lot, with two lanes entering from Little Neck Parkway and exiting onto Northern Boulevard, to accommodate a drive-thru window for the bank.

Originally, the committee had requested the developer remove the drive-thru ATM lane, but CB 11 said it was unable to come to an agreement with the architects on such a plan.

The lot will also have one handicapped space, CB 11 said.

The parking lot will be fenced to separate spots for tenants and customers of neighboring storefronts, CB 11 said.

The traffic revision will also move the QM3 bus stop near the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Little Neck Parkway further east, closer to that intersection.

Traffic engineer Matt Carmody, of VHB Engineering, conducted a study of the Scobee property and its surrounding traffic patterns and said the drafted plans would improve safety at the site after it is transformed into a two-story commercial building.

“Committee members and residents voiced strong safety concerns about two drivers being able to exit onto Northern Boulevard simultaneously,” the board’s committee report said. “In addition, they expressed concern about site employees parking in the lot, leaving customers and clients to fend for themselves for paid parking.”

Board members said the future employers at the site were encouraged to hire between 20 and 30 of their workers locally to help alleviate substantial traffic and parking issues.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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