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The construction of a controversial three−story hotel on the site of a former Bellerose ice cream shop was temporarily put on hold after the developers’ plans were disapproved by the city Department of Buildings.
While the action halts the construction of the hotel for the time being, the owners of the lot were given the green light to demolish Frozen Cup at 249−05 Jamaica Ave., an ice cream stand that has been in the community for nearly 50 years.
Siding was torn down from the Frozen Cup building late last month along with a neon sign, but the building has yet to be torn down.
Harshed Patel, one of the co−owners of the lot, could not be reached for comment on when the building would be demolished.
Angela Augugliaro, president of the Queens Colony Civic Association and one of the most vocal critics of the hotel, likened Frozen Cup to the hamburger joint Arnold’s from the TV show “Happy Days.”
“Frozen Cup was Bellerose’s Arnold’s,” she said. “It’s an icon of Bellerose.”
Civic leaders originally intended to preserve Frozen Cup, but failed when it was sold late last year.
“We can no longer save Frozen Cup anymore because they cannibalized it,” Augugliaro said.
Opponents of the hotel claim it does not conform to the character of Bellerose, a community on the Nassau border comprised mainly of single−family homes.
Augugliaro said the community already has three hotels within about a mile of each other: a Howard Johnson on Jamaica Avenue, the Floral Park Motor Lodge on Jericho Turnpike by Remsen Lane and a Quality Inn on Jericho that is owned by the proposed developers of the new hotel.
“This isn’t a tourist area,” Augugliaro said. “There’s no need for it.”
Plans for the hotel were disapproved by the DOB on Jan. 14 because the three−story structure, which is to include 44 guest rooms with about 15 parking spaces, exceeded the required floor−area ratio and there were problems involving compliance with the energy code, according to a Buildings spokeswoman.
Instead of a hotel, Augugliaro said she would like to see “something that will bring business to the strip” on Jericho Turnpike, “something that will bring up the value of this strip and not bring it down.”
A hotel is allowed on the site, according to zoning regulations.
But Augugliaro said she plans to ask City Councilmen James Sanders (D−Laurelton) and Leroy Comrie (D−St. Albans) to persuade the Department of City Planning to change the area’s zoning.
“I’ll never stop the fight,” she said, “until I win or lose.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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