Two Hotels Get Board 4 Boot
By Richard Gentilviso
Corona residents were less than pleased with plans for two hotels, remnants of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair era almost 40 years ago, that were presented at the November meeting of Community Board 4.
Representatives of owners of the Best Western Eden Park Hotel, situated along the service road of the Long Island Expressway at 113-10 Horace Harding Expwy. near Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, said intent is to lease the hotel’s 74 rooms to a social services agency to house single mothers. Too many rooms, owners claim, are going vacant.
But proprietors of the Paris Suites, down the road at 109-17 Horace Harding Expwy., say business is booming—so much so that they need to expand the current two-story, 18-room hotel into a five-story, 51-room structure.
Residents from nearby Sautell, Waldron and Van Doren Streets said they knew the reason behind the request. "It [Paris Suites] is not a hotel," said one. "It’s four hours in and out, a hot sheet motel." "Hot sheet" is a common description for a hotel or motel with short-term rates.
"We put up with it all night long, I don’t think it’s fair," she said, pointing to the influx of cars that spill over onto local streets. The hotel now can hold 12 cars in its lot. Expanding the hotel would decrease the number of spaces by one.
A representative of Aggressive Realty Corporation, owners of the Paris Suites, said the reason a variance application was brought to the board had nothing to do with parking. The variance was for the zoning requirement that prohibits more than four-stories within the 60-foot height limit (proposed expansion is five stories and 50-feet high) as well as the height and size of signs.
"Use as a hotel on this site is not an issue," said the representative. But one Board 4 member disagreed, saying, "This is a bordello without a madam."
"Illegitimate use is a matter for the police department. We are primarily here on a zoning issue," the representative said. But Board 4 overwhelmingly voted to turn the application down on the basis of the impact the parking and signage would have on the community.
Representatives of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, the social services agency leasing the Best Western Eden Park Hotel, said they would spend $1.5 million to convert it into a transitional residence for women and children in cooperation with the city Department of Homeless Services.
"This is for informational purposes only. The proposal is as of right and the board will not be voting. However, we can take a stand [on the proposal]" Board 4 Chairperson Richard Italiano said.
"It seems like Corona gets dumped on with everything," said Boardmember James Lisa. "We don’t need more children and more young adults in this community. We have enough now." The board requested the Best Western be acquired through condemnation proceedings and the site used for other purposes.
"We desperately need a high school," said District Manager Rose Renda–Rothschild.