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The Star Nissan dealership on Northern Boulevard in Bayside currently has more than $18,000 in outstanding city Department of Buildings and Sanitation fines, according to Susan Seinfeld, the Community Board 11 district manager.
The fines date back as far as 2000 and include violations, such as exceeding the limit of 30 vehicles allowed by the property’s certificate of occupancy, failure to provide the appropriate plans at time of inspection and filing false documents.
Last week, the number of cars on the property was found to be more than twice the occupancy limit, a Dumpster was placed on the sidewalk behind the dealership, and several new vehicles without license plates were parked in the street behind the dealership and on the sidewalk along 206th Street.
Mandingo Tshaka, a community activist and lifelong resident of the neighborhood behind the dealership, has been a vocal critic of the dealership’s practices. At his request, two deputy borough presidents and representatives from the DOB have met with Star Nissan’s owner, although with little success.
“The violations are putting people’s lives in jeopardy,” said Tshaka, who said he and others often have to travel into the street near the exit for the Clearview Expressway because of the vehicles parked on the sidewalk along 206th Street. “The sad part is that the city is not doing its job. It’s not enforcing the laws. The city should shut [the dealership] down.”
The issue was discussed at Monday’s CB 11 meeting where William Conway, a community affairs officer with the 111th Precinct, said the police cannot ticket a vehicle without license plates. They can — and do — schedule coordinated tow efforts, though dealers often react in time to minimize the effectiveness.
Seinfeld said that in some cases large fines can become a lien against the property, which will then be collected when it is sold. She said that in extreme circumstances a building will be padlocked.
Tony Signorelli, a manager at Star Nissan, said that as far as he knows the company is in litigation concerning the fines and that he and his employees work as fast as they can to avoid parking cars on the sidewalk.
“I do the best I can to run a business in Queens. It isn’t easy,” said Signorelli, who characterized his relationship with the residents behind the dealership as “friendly.”
One resident of the area immediately behind the fenced-off lot, who did not wish to be identified, said she and her neighbors had discussed the Dumpster and the unlicensed cars parked on the street, but by and large they were not concerned about the violations.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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