By Bill Parry
The president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association has stepped down after realizing that fellow members are resistant to change.
Dominic Stiller, the owner of the popular restaurant Dutch Kills Centraal and an engineering company named DSENY Building Services, submitted his letter of resignation Monday.
“There is a recent awareness in the city and country about the importance of providing livable streets, reducing vehicular fatalities and encouraging alternative forms of green commuting and transport, while encouraging walking by keeping the sidewalks free from vehicles,” Stiller wrote in the letter. “This will hopefully be successfully implemented by a new cultural awareness that is sweeping the region. I wish Dutch Kills Civic Association had an interest and awareness and open mind to lead or at least support this cultural change locally. It doesn’t.”
Stiller believes that board members are more concerned with keeping street space as the exclusive property of car owners alone.
“This view is short-sighted and unsustainable, and instead of working for the greater good it is working for a small minority as the vast majority of Dutch Kills residents do not own cars,” he wrote.
Stiller was to have finished his term at the end of December but decided to walk away after incoming President Thea Romano called for a vote to proclaim that the Dutch Kills Civic Association is against any business taking automobile parking space away, something Stiller had tried to do at his restaurant.
“This vote is a reaction to my business’s recent application to have a bicycle corral installed by the DOT in front of Dutch Kills Centraal,” the letter continued. “Our intention is to increase and legitimize cycling as a mode of transportation, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and make our streets safer. These ideas are important to me.”
As current civic vice president, Romano will take over immediately.
“He resigned because he’s upset that Community Board 1 and the civic association board turned down his request for a bike corral. He’s upset and he’s taking it personally. We’re against any plan that would take away parking spaces. We had other suggestions like a bike rack on the sidewalk, but he didn’t want that because it would impede his outdoor cafe seating. It’s definitely all about the business with him.”
In closing, Stiller wrote that he hoped his resignation would make the board aware of his commitment to alternative methods of urban quality of life improvements.
“As Dutch Kills moves into the 21st century, these changes will be inevitable,” his letter said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.