Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fight, Comrade

Looks like Gabriel Development might be jumping the gun with the big yellow sign. No approval has been given by the city to allow the building of a shopping center. Today's Daily News:

Even after plans to build a small shopping center in Forest Hills were shot down by city officials, the developer still aims to open the complex in six months.

David Koptiev of Gabriel Development Corp. vowed to resubmit plans for the two-story center - with six name-brand stores on the ground floor and offices above - on what is now a vacant lot at 71st and Metropolitan Aves.

"It's only going to improve the area," Koptiev said, predicting the Buildings Department would approve his revised plan in coming days.

The timing is questioned with the whole rezoning thing about to become official. Citizen Stuchinski shoots back:

"There's something fishy. The little darlings might be trying to sneak something in," said Barbara Stuchinski, president of the Forest Hills Community and Civic Association, referring to the developer.

Don't know how putting a huge yellow sign before approval is even granted is "trying to sneak something in", but you have to admire Stuchinski's pluck. We all want to downzone our areas, but she went out and did it. The fight continues into the second round:

Stuchinski said she did not see workers remediate the tainted soil, as was done before a nearby dry cleaner was converted into a 7-Eleven. But Koptiev insisted remediation was done before he bought the land.

I can see fighting the destruction of hundred year old townhouses for bland office buildings, but knocking down a chop-shop for retail? What's the problem people? Barbara, you got what you wanted, the houses are safe. Let the guy build his little shopping center. If he lands a Cosi or West Elm, would you still be for the broke-down auto repair?