2004-06-11 / Front Page

CB: ‘No Parking’ Rehearing

By Howard Schwach

CB: ‘No Parking’ Rehearing

By Howard Schwach

Community Board 14 has granted Rockaway Park residents a committee hearing on the recent placement of No Parking Any Time signs on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in that community. No such rehearing will be held for the Belle Harbor portion of the plan, however.

"I’m satisfied with the new hearing," said Daniel Ruscillo, one of the founders of the Coalition Against No Parking Signs (CANPAS) after the meeting. "At least we know that our concerns will be heard."

CANPAS officials told the board that the local civic organization had, in fact, voted against the plan to place malls along the boulevard and to restrict parking.

"The group was told that the plan would affect only a handful of spaces," said Jeremy Havens. "They would not have voted to even discuss the plan had they known the outcome in advance."

Havens says that the ban in his Rockaway Park community impacts both homeowners and renters.

"Those who live on the beach block once used the boulevard for parking during the week because they cannot park on their own block, Now, they have to park closer to the bay, taking spaces away from those who live there."

Ruscillo pointed out that the new parking ban caused a safety issue as well, caused by cars speeding to pass on the right line on the two-lane road. Police department statistics show that there have been 15 accidents on that stretch of road since the signs were put up in September.

There were others, who stood up to support the no parking plan.

Peter Larkin told the board that he had surveyed the entire stretch of the boulevard and that only 129 parking spots were lost by the plan, rather than the 100’s of spots that were reportedly lost.

Hank Iori told the board that the malls "are wonderful and beautiful and had been constructed in a wonderful fashion."

Iori added, "The opposition to the plans is just smoke and mirrors from people who don’t belong in Belle Harbor."

Others added to Iori’s feelings by saying that people who rent are "mostly illegal" in Belle Harbor and should not be considered.

The Rockaway Park portion of the plan will go to the board’s Transportation Committee, which is chaired jointly by board members Jack King and Paul Cromity.

That committee will then schedule an open meeting to discuss the problem.

The Wave raised two questions to Dolores Orr, the chairperson for the community Board.

The first was, "Where is Belle Harbor?

The Belle Harbor Property Owners Association says that their community begins at Beach 130 Street. Historic proof presented by The Wave shows that it begins on Beach 126 Street. An elderly Rockaway resident came to the paper three weeks ago with documentation that the community once began on Beach 124 Street.

"The local organizations have the right to decide where their community begins and ends," Orr said. We accept their definition of their community."

Who speaks for the people who rent apartments in Belle Harbor, and who cannot belong to the homeowners association?

"Perhaps they should form their own civic organization," Orr, who is president of the Rockaway Beach Civics said. "We cannot tell anybody who should be members of their organization."

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