2004-05-21 / Front Page

CANPAS Claims Group Shut Out Of CB 14 Agenda

CANPAS Claims Group Shut Out Of CB 14 Agenda

The founders of CANPAS (Coalition Against No Parking Signs), the coalition formed to fight the new ‘No Parking Any Time" signs on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Belle Harbor, has charged that officials from Community Board 14 have stilled their voices by refusing to place them on the agenda for the June meeting. CB 14 officials, however, argue that the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association (BHPOA), as the official representative of the community’s residents, should be the one to request that the issue be put on the agenda.

"We are disillusioned by the refusal of Community Board 14 to agenda this matter," says CANPAS spokesperson Jeremy Havens. "We really wanted the entire community to have some input into this very important matter."

"We have no intention of throwing in the towel, however," Havens added. "Although CB 14 has seen fit not to assist the community, we intend to move forward."

"CANPAS met with us and said that it speaks for the residents," said Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for the board. "The BHPOA has been speaking for the community for more than 25 years and the group has to show that it does, in fact, speak for the community on this issue and not the BHPOA."

"That’s how government does business," Gaska added. "If we want a dialogue with a community, we go to its civic association."

Gaska said that as soon as the BHPOA asks to put the issue on the agenda, the request will be sent to the board’s Transportation Committee, headed by Bayswater resident Steve Cromity.

He added that CANPAS has to get some members in good standing in the BHPOA to get up at an association meeting and ask for a request to place the issue on its agenda.

Havens thinks that there is little chance of the BHPOA asking for a review of the signs since its leadership was the moving force behind the signs on the first place.

"We have tried to reach out to Barbara Larkin, the president of the Belle Harbor organization on numerous occasions," he said. "Although we left many messages, none have resulted in a call back."

Havens and other members of the coalition spoke with City Council member Joseph Addabbo as well.

Havens says that Addabbo stated his concern for those who live in Belle Harbor and cannot be members of the association since they do not own property in the community.

CANPAS has asked Gaska for all of the documents relating to the original vote approving the new center malls and the no parking signs.

So far, however, those documents have not been forthcoming.

The city’s Department of Transportation has promised a review of the no parking plan sometime after the summer.

Addabbo has signed on to that proposal.

CANPAS, however, does not want to wait that long for a review.

"The signs create an unsafe condition for all of those who live in Belle Harbor, particularly the children who play on our streets," says Havens. "We are not willing to wait for the summer to go by and for the inevitable accidents that will occur because of those signs."

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