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Queens Chronicle

Springfield Gardens 'hot sheet' motel plan dead, Sanders says

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Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 4:19 pm | Updated: 1:06 pm, Thu Oct 25, 2012.

A controversial plan to open what many feared would be a “hot sheet motel," a charge-by-the-hour facility probably to be used for prostitution, along North Conduit Avenue across the street from Springfield Gardens High School, has been killed.  City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) announced today that the property has been sold to new developers who intend to build a small strip mall at the site.

“For years we have tirelessly fought this battle,” Sanders said in a prepared statement.  “We fought the developer, we fought the city, and we fought together with the people of Springfield Gardens to ensure that our community did not turn into the kind of place where seedy businesses can operate in the open.  We promised to fight this battle to the bitter end.  Today, we sent a powerful message: no matter how long it takes, no matter what we have to endure, we will persevere to protect our community, and we will win.  We will never allow our neighborhood to turn into a place where people pull off the highway to rent a room by the hour; where prostitution, drugs and crime lords run our streets.  Today, at long last, we can declare victory!”

The community was so concerned about the project that residents filed a lawsuit to block the property owner, Sailesh Ghandi, from moving ahead, stating that the establishment would not only attract an unsavory element to the neighborhood, but that Ghandi had failed to meet the city's deadline to finish the foundation of the building in accordance with a zoning variance he was granted.

Some believed Ghandi would try to demonstrate that he had a common-law right to build, meaning that he had made a significant financial investment in the construction of the motel and therefore should be allowed to continue the work. But now those fears have been allayed with the sale of the property and residents can finally breath a sigh of relief.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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