2016-04-13 / Front Page

Community Board 2 Hears Application For Sunnyside Gardens

By Thomas Cogan

The Community Board 2 meeting for April at Sunnyside Community Services was long, mainly because of a Landmark application for a house in Sunnyside Gardens and a Board of Standards and Appeals application for a fast food restaurant in Woodside.  It appears that these applications were thought to be manageable in a reasonable amount of time, but the more the board heard about them the more complications showed up, prompting several questions from the members.  Among the other parts of the meeting were a remembrance of a recently deceased board member, a welcome for several new members and a street re-naming. 

The Landmark application for 39-54 48th St. in Sunnyside was to complete work on exterior alterations.  The owner of the house, Shane McKeon, told the board that there were several building renovations made and some had incurred the disapproval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.  The main problem seemed to be with the roof renovation.  The house had a slate roof that had apparently got worn and deteriorated over time, to the point where the owner believed it should be not merely repaired but replaced.  He bought a sufficient number of shingles made not of slate but a composition of products (plastic, concrete) that yield something slate-like.  They were fixed to the roof before the owner found out that while the commission does deem them acceptable for repairs or “patching,” they shouldn’t be used as a complete replacement for natural slate shingles.  That and the other repairs that the LPC disapproved left McKeon in a situation he called “in violation,” where he would have trouble getting bank financing in future.  When it was time for the board to vote, a motion was established by Steve Cooper that would allow the owner to get permits for the “slate” already installed.  A roll-call vote was required, and soon the board members were answering in alphabetical order.  The vote happened to be frontloaded positively, but negative replies began to show in the middle.  As it headed into X-Y-Z territory there were flurries of disapproval.  The 13 negative votes were not enough to defeat the motion but certainly enough to generate disgruntled commentary.  Sheila Lewandowski questioned the validity of the motion, saying it had to do only with the slate roof and neglected to consider anything else the LPC said was unacceptable.  Board Chairman Patrick O’Brien insisted the motion was valid, and soon he and other board members were disputing fine points of Robert’s Rules of Order.  Through it all, approval of the motion stood.

Taco Bell, at 60-06/12 Northern Blvd., has been there since 1994.  It was bought from the original owner in 2011 and is operated by two franchisees.   The BSA application is for a variance (an earlier one expired in 2014) on an accessory drive-through facility and a parking lot that does not conform to the use regulations.   When the franchisees and their representative presented their case in the middle of the meeting, Tom Ryan of the Northern Woodside Coalition complained about a required fence that’s a border for much of the property, being at the property lines on 60th and 61st Streets, between Northern Boulevard and Broadway.  It’s too short (it replaced an old and worn-out one of proper height) and in addition, landscaping has been stripped away, he said at the CB2 meeting, adding that those formerly running the place had no respect for the neighborhood and its residents, and the new partners look unpromising.  The lighting is harsh and ugly and certainly needs to be toned down or replaced and the drive-through is open till 1:00 a.m., every day of the week, he said.  When it was time for the land use committee report, Lisa Ann Deller said the committee wanted fence and lighting repairs made to the satisfaction of the neighbors and such irritants as an loud call box at the drive-through booth made less noisy and more compatible with the neighborhood’s wishes.  The franchisees’ representative said they believed they had fulfilled their duty to make the fencing, noise and lighting situations better but would be willing to do more, such as putting taller stockade fencing everywhere fencing was required.  The cooperative attitude was not enough, and Chairman O’Brien might have wanted some further commentary from Ryan, who had left.  There was too much unfinished business to allow for a motion to be composed and voted upon.  O’Brien called for the whole thing to be tabled until the next meeting.    

Earlier, at public comment time, Gregory Muniz, who lives on 47th Street near 48th Avenue, said that work on the expansion of Intermediate School 125, 46-02 47th Ave., has temporarily eliminated street parking spaces for blocks in the vicinity of the school.  He was asking if area parking meters could be suspended, also temporarily, so local residents could again park their cars somewhere close to where they usually park them.  Margaret Flanagan, Sunnyside resident, announced that the Polynesian Voyaging Society is on a worldwide tour and that one of its oceangoing canoes will be docked for visitors to see at Gantry Park, Tuesday and Wednesday, June 7-8.  Gerald Lederman, former president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, spoke for the agenda item to name the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and 44th Street after the late Murray Fox.  He owned a store at that location, was a member of the Kiwanis Club and was an asset to the community in his lifetime, Lederman said.  When the motion to approve the street-naming came up, it was passed unanimously on a raised-hands vote.

In addition to the street-naming vote, unanimous approval was given the BSA application for 45-26 51st St., to discuss a proposed variance that would allow construction of a four-story (with cellar), 29,077-square-foot self-storage facility.  At a late hour, a motion to pass the application was approved unanimously. 

O’Brien introduced about a half-dozen new board members and asked them to stand.  He also called for a moment of silence for Beth Sexton, a board member and Sunnyside resident who had died since the last meeting. 

Return to top

Copyright 1999-2018 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.