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CB 7 blasts USTA for Open fax paux

TimesLedger Newspapers

Community Board 7 took the United States Tennis Association to task, gave the thumbs up for a zoning change to help a College Point landscaping business and shot down a one-way street proposal at its Monday night meeting.

The US Open, based in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, is rapidly approaching, but Whitney Kraft from USTA came to give the board a rundown on the programs offered to the community throughout the rest of the year.

CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty, however, fixated on the impending Open, giving Kraft a tongue lashing for holding auditions in another borough for contenders to sing the national anthem.

“You’re a Queens-based organization. I want to see it in Queens. That’s where it should be,” Kelty said, calling the tryouts scheduled to take place at the Apollo Theater in Harlem unacceptable.

Kelty cited several venues in the borough that could host the tryouts, including the newly renovated Colden Auditorium at Queens College, Flushing Town Hall or Queens Theater in the Park.

“If they want to sing, let them come here,” Kelty said.

Kraft responded that he had brought up the matter in meetings, but that change takes time.

The board later unanimously recommended that a zoning change be approved by the City Planning Commission in order to help Frank Marando Landscape Contractors, at 11-20 131st St.

The owner of the business had purchased land when it was zoned for manufacturing in 2005 and used a single family home on the property as an office. That zoning later changed to residential, which threw his business out of compliance, since operating a commercial enterprise out of a residential home is illegal. The zoning change would return the plot, on 131st Street between 11th and 14th avenues, back to manufacturing to bring the business into compliance.

Finally, the board did not look as kindly upon a proposal to make 170th Street in front of Holy Cross High School one way.

The CB 7 Transportation Committee had unanimously approved of the idea after considering both a petition in favor of the conversion and the North East Flushing Civic Association’s approval. It was first proposed to increase safety for students who had to navigate the chaotic traffic in the mornings and afternoons, according to CB 7’s Joe Femenia.

But after several homeowners at the meeting expressed strong opposition to the proposal — one even brought a rival petition showing a majority of residents opposed the conversion — the proposal was scrapped.

Many of the speakers blamed impudent parents who blocked driveways or doubled and sometimes tripled parked their cars to drop off their kids.

“This is a traffic issue,” said one speaker. “You have to tell the parents to do something about it.”

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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