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Fresh Meadows hotel opposed by residents

Photo by Kelsey Durham
By Kelsey Durham

A Great Neck, L.I., developer’s plans to build a 12-story hotel on a Fresh Meadows street has nearby residents fearing their quiet neighborhood will soon be disturbed.

The city Department of Buildings approved plans in December for Mayflower Business Group to move forward with construction, at 61-27 186th St., where the developer plans to put up a hotel on what is now a vacant lot. Despite the city’s approval, surrounding homeowners have cited several concerns with the project and are fighting the construction.

One of the major complaints from nearby residents is the lack of parking the developer has planned for, according to Jim Gallagher, president of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association. The DOB rejected the site’s original plans in 2012 because it did not think Mayflower had provided adequate parking, but the newest set of plans on the DOB website call for an enclosed parking area with 45 spaces.

Gallagher said homeowners are not satisfied that there are adequate spaces to serve the entire hotel and are worried hotel guests will take street parking away from the community.

But potential neighbors are taking issue with more than just the parking, Gallagher said.

“It’s on a side street, the entrance is only 60 feet wide and it’s all single-family homes across the street,” he said. “To bring in 100-plus units of single-bedroom, transient apartments is really not the proper location for this.”

Construction has already begun on the site and Gallagher said residents have since complained about their houses shaking and broken pipes as a result of the support structure being put in place. A complaint was filed with the DOB Jan. 10 stating that “construction is shaking foundation of houses more than 70 years old and excavation threatens sewer lines,” but the agency dismissed the complaint and said it had observed no violations at the time of inspection.

The site’s architect, Chang Tan, of Tan Architects in Elmhurst, could not be reached for comment.

The building would be the third new hotel to pop up in the community within the past few years, with two Marriotts having been recently built nearby. As developers continue to move in on the area, Gallagher said concern is growing that the residential area will not be protected much longer.

“We’re really concerned about these hotels,” he said. “There are no subways, airports, shopping centers or anything. It’s a beautiful residential community and we try to keep it clean. We were very shocked when they came along and said they wanted to do this.”

Gallagher said the Homeowners Civic Association would be much less opposed to a building closer to six stories, which would better match the look of the area. He said there is also concern that the added use of the area’s outdated sewer lines will cause flooding in neighboring homes.

“It’s just not the right location,” Gallagher said. “It’s not a place for a hotel.”

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurham@cnglocal.com.

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