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Queens Chronicle

Sidewalk cafe issue comes to a head

Expansion in Whitestone causes controversy; Council is deciding

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Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 12:25 pm, Thu Apr 3, 2014.

Three times and you’re out? A request by an Italian restaurant in Whitestone to add a sidewalk cafe has been turned down by Community Board 7 and the City Council’s Land Use Committee. Now it’s up to the full City Council.

Nonna’s Pizzeria and Trattoria at 22-30 154 St. was rejected by CB 7 several months ago, according to District Manager Marilyn Bitterman. “It would obstruct the sidewalk and add noise and traffic to the community,” Bitterman said.

The owner wants to add outside tables in a glass-enclosed space on the sidewalk. The city’s Department of Consumer Affairs approved the plan, but last week the Council’s Land Use Committee vetoed it.

Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) convinced his fellow committee members to disapprove the application based on what he said were the scope and impact of the plan, inaccuracies stated during the applicant’s presentation and the existing illegal fixtures outside the restaurant that have not been removed yet.

Vallone added that the proposal had been met with “immediate opposition” from the neighborhood as well as CB 7.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) agreed. He noted that the restaurant is surrounded by mom-and-pop stores in a quiet residential neighborhood.

“Not only did the applicant fail to properly notify the community of the proposed changes to the premises, but he also failed to even show up at the Council hearings to try and address the concerns raised,” Avella said.

The City Council was expected to vote on the proposal at its Wednesday, March 26 meeting.

Attempts to reach Nonna’s owner were not successful.

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