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Queens Chronicle

Hotel plan opposed in Fresh Meadows

Neighbors fear loss of parking, infrastructure overload if it is built

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Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:28 am, Thu Jan 30, 2014.

Fresh Meadows residents are hoping to pressure the city to stop the construction of a hotel on 186th Street, but the development can proceed “as of right,” meaning it does not need variances to proceed.

Neighbors along the narrow residential block near the eastbound Horace Harding Expressway say the structure, which is slated for 11 or 12 stories, would loom over their homes and wreak havoc with the overused sewer system in the area.

Two years ago, the developer, Mayflower Business Group of Great Neck, was turned down by the Department of Buildings for a 12-story plan based on inadequate parking [48 spaces] and a too-dense floor-area ratio.

The group’s latest proposal, according to the website of the contractor, Crosscity Construction of Long Island City, calls for an 11-story hotel with 147 rooms and 42 parking spots.

Although the project is as of right, the developer must still meet city guidelines.The 77,000-square-foot project would be built at 61-27 186 St., the site of three former houses and is next to the Michaels arts and crafts store parking lot.

Jim Gallagher, president of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association, said the project is now being audited by the DOB. “For one thing they are short 5 feet for a setback and the hotel’s only entrance would be on 186th Street, which is only 60 feet wide,” Gallagher said. “The whole thing is horrible.”

Plans also call for two floors of above-ground parking for 42 cars and 147 rooms, with a community facility on the third floor.

Gallagher is also concerned that the project will adversely affect parking on the block and will increase the chance of flooding because of overtaxed sewers.

Although the DOB is still assessing the plan, Crosscity began shoring up the site over the last month. Gallagher claims area residents are complaining that their houses are shaking from the work.

He tells neighbors to call the city’s 311 number to complain. Meanwhile, his group has written to area elected officials seeking their help in stopping the project.

At last week’s Community Board 8 monthly meeting, civic member Joan Hausmann asked the board for support in opposing the plan. “You can be sure they will look for parking on the narrow two-way street, which at the present time is so congested with the overflow cars from the Fresh Meadows development, and the people parking for the express bus,” Hausmann said.

But a community board is only advisory and in this case can do little because the hotel meets the C4-2 zoning requirements.

“We would like to negotiate with the owner to lower the structure to six stories,” Gallagher said.

But Wei Hong Hu, Mayflower president, said by telephone on Wednesday that any problems with the DOB have been worked out and the project is going through. Hu confirmed the hotel will have 11 stories and said it would be completed at the end of 2015 or early 2016.

The preliminary drawings for the site show it will be a Wingate by Wyndham hotel.

Welcome to the discussion.