Community Organizes Against Transient Hotel
Seventy-five residents came together last week to get information on the planned construction of a what the Department of Buildings calls a “transient hotel” on Beach 43 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Steve Cooper, the president of the Frank Avenue Civic Association, spoke to The Wave earlier this week about the planned construction at 43-17 Rockaway Beach Boulevard.
“The people are very upset with the transient hotel [being built],” said Cooper. “A lot of elected officials are on board [to help fight the hotel].”
Those officials include Congressman Gregory Meeks; Assemblypersons Michele Titus and Phillip Goldfeder; State Senators Joseph Addabbo and Shirley Huntley; and Democratic district leader Lew Simon. City council candidate Donovan Richards has also thrown his support behind the local residents.
Councilman James Sanders Jr., according to a spokesman, is scheduling a meeting between local residents and the operators of the hotel.
“[Sanders] is trying to find out what [the hotel] is, what its role in the community will be and if there is any benefits to the community,” said Michael Lopes, a representative for Sanders. While locals have been told that there is no way to stop the construction, Lopes said that Sanders wants to determine that for himself and wants to understand what the community will get out of having the building in the area – a community room that can be used by all community members, for example.
The Wave has learned that the meeting is to take place Friday evening, but Cooper said he would not be attending.
“I want other people from our community to get the answers to our questions],” explained Cooper. “I don’t want to make decisions [for other people].”
Cooper’s preference is for the developer to make a presentation in front of Community Board 14, saying, “I look to a Community Board meeting with developers to hear [the plans]. We want other people from the community to hear what is going on.”
Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for CB 14, said he is trying to set up a meeting with the developer, Amritpal Sandhu.
“We’ve reached out to him [Sandhu] to see what the story is,” said Gaska, who added that meanwhile he requested the DOB do an audit of the plans – why the hotel is located where it is, the impact on the area and what its cliental would be. “We’re having buildings check everything.” Gaska also said that whether there are presentations to the board or its committees depends on whether the audit finds the hotel is legal.
While Cooper did point to the fact that such a hotel would cause homes in the area to lose some of their value, that is not the only problem. With the Beach 44 Street subway station just feet away from where the hotel would be he added that the prospect of the hotel and its boarders “scares [local residents] when they are coming home at night.” In addition he said that there are no services for the people who would live there, such as a hospital or restaurant.
“The whole idea is to stop it before construction starts,” said Cooper.
Cooper said that Meeks’ office has offered help by providing a lawyer to the group pro bono.
The Bayswater Civic Association’s president Enid Glabman attended the meeting in support of those who live around the construction.
Community members and local officials will picket the construction on Monday evening, August 20 from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m.