State nixes liquor store

Photo by Rich Bockmann
By Rich Bockmann

Springfield Gardens is two-for-two when it comes to fighting unwanted businesses near the neighborhood high school after the state rejected an application for a liquor store across the street.

“The New York State Liquor Authority has disapproved the liquor license for the proposed liquor store across the street from Springfield [Gardens] High School and we ought to applaud that today,” City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) said Friday outside an under-construction strip mall across from the school, which up until last year was the proposed site of a hot-sheets motel. “I think it’s a great victory.”

Concerned community members sent petitions to the authority expressing their disapproval after learning Gurmel Singh had filed an application in February to put the Billa Wines & Liquor Inc. in the strip mall, Richards said.

In a letter dated June 12, the authority informed Singh his request had been shot down because he did not have a valid lease with his landlord, as required by statute.

Singh could not be reached for comment.

“I just want to put any businesses on notice today that if they intend to come to our community and build anything that is not going to build this community up, that they will not be here,” the councilman said. “You have an obligation when you come here to ensure … that these children who go to this store are going to leave better and if you want to bring something here bring a library, bring some sort of tutoring center, but nothing that is going to kill their dreams.”

Richards stood with several community members near the corner of Springfield Boulevard and North Conduit Avenue where construction is under way on a strip mall on a site where the community had pushed back against a developer known for operating pay-by-the-hour hotels.

Community members battled the developer for years, and after the city Department of Buildings pulled his construction permit in 2011 the site was quietly sold off to the Forest Hills-based Platinum Realty Associates.

Fay Hill, of the Friends of Springfield Park, said her children all graduated from Springfield Gardens High, at 143-10 Springfield Blvd., and she never had to worry about them walking out of the school’s doors and into a liquor store.

“We don’t need this in our community,” she said. “We need quality of life in our community and we are going to implement quality of life.”

Rosedale Civic Association member Irnel Stephan reiterated the sentiment.

“We are pleased to win this victory and we are also ready to fight any other battles regarding any organization that tries to attack our children, to attack our way of life,” he said.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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