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Community Board Ends Year With Education, Environmental Wrap-Up

The impending return of a car dealership, a vote switcheroo and committee reports cap off a memorable year for CB11

Community Board 11 wrapped up unfinished business and looked to the year ahead at their last meeting of a memorable 2010.

However, compared to the urgency of past CB11 sessions with a focus on clean up from two massive storms, and , Monday's meeting at Marie Curie Middle School in Bayside was a mostly tranquil affair.

Among the agenda items was an application to extend a variance for a car lot and service facility owned by , which despite its moniker has been operating from a location on East Shore Road in Great Neck since last February.

The car seller plans to reopen the lot at 217-07 Northern Blvd. in Bayside, as well as another facility for used vehicles only a few blocks away, according to an attorney representing the holding company for the dealership.

Some residents and community board members expressed concerns regarding upkeep of the dealership's facade, reports of barbecuing on the property and loud music, urging CB11 to vote against the plan.

In response, other board members reminded attendees that prior requests for variances were ultimately approved by the city Board of Standards and Appeals despite strong objections from the community.

"The BSA is not in the business of closing down businesses," said CB11 chairman Jerry Iannece.

Others argued for support of the proposed variance extension for BMW of Bayside on tactical grounds.

"You have the satisfaction of voting something down, but you lose out when it comes to conditions," said Steve Newman, former CB11 chairman and current board member.

The variance request ultimately passed 17-16, but not before board member and Patch contributor Victor Mimoni switched his vote from "No" to "Yes" after the roll call was sounded, but before Iannece announced the final results.

Also at the meeting, the chairpersons of CB11's Education and Environmental committees, Laura James and Henry Euler, respectively, summarized their reports.

Tops on the education agenda was the issue of class sizes in District 26, particularly given a on the lack of new seats allocated as part of the city Department of Education's Capital Spending Plan.

James also waded into the continuing controversy regarding Mayor Michael Bloomberg's appointment of media executive Cathie Black to the city's top schools post.

"Ms. Black should have been a business manager," James said.

Later in the meeting, Euler gave an overview of several issues of interest to board members including collection of grass clippings and efforts to enforce existing laws against noise pollution from lawn mowers and leaf blowers.

He also reported on efforts to preserve or to replant trees removed from a section of the Long Island Railroad's right-of-way in Auburndale, voicing a familiar refrain in what promised to be a cash-strapped 2011 for local, state and federal agencies.

"They told us they have no money," Euler said.

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