BY JAMES FARRELL
A Nissan dealership in Bayside is not following the law, according to state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
The Star Nissan dealership, located at 206-02 Northern Blvd., has a Certificate of Occupancy that allows 20 cars to be parked in its rear parking lot, which borders 45th Road. But the parking lot regularly holds significantly more, and sometimes has up to 70 vehicles, according to Avella and Bayside resident Mandingo Tshaka, who held a press conference outside the dealership last week.
Additionally, many cars without license plates that belong to the dealership are parked along residential streets, along with cars from several other dealerships that sit along 45th Road.
“It’s a continuing issue with this dealership,” Avella told the Queens Tribune.
Between 2010 and 2017, the dealership was slapped with eight violations that have not been resolved and racked up a total of $28,600 worth of uncollected fines. Five of those violations are for having an excess of cars in the lot. The two most recent were on Jan. 4 and July 26, during which the dealer was found to have nearly 80 cars in the lot.
Avella expressed frustration that the city has let the fines go uncollected—$12,000 worth of the fines have been unpaid since 2010.
“Any other innocent homeowner does the slightest little thing wrong, and the city clamps down on them immediately,” he said. “They should just go in and padlock the place until they pay the fines.”
Tshaka, who lives near the dealers, said that the cars parked along the road take up parking space and devalue the neighborhood.
“He’s got so many cars on that lot over there, it’s outrageous—they’re spilling out on the street and the city is letting this happen,” he said. “These auto-related businesses are doing nothing but devalue the neighborhood.”
Tshaka accused the city of “blatant racism.” The area around the string of dealerships that border 45th Road is predominantly African American, Tshaka said. He suggested that having that kind of commercial activity in a residential zone would never happen in a predominantly white neighborhood.
“They damn sure wouldn’t do that across the street where Caucasians live,” he said.
The Queens Tribune left a message requesting an interview with a representative from Star Nissan, but did not hear back by press time.
Community Board 11 did not respond to an emailed list of questions.
A Department of Buildings spokesman told the Queens Tribune that a hearing for the most recent violation is scheduled for Oct. 31, but noted that the city’s Department of Finance is in charge of collecting fines. The Department of Finance did not respond to a request for comment.
Additionally, the DOB spokesman said that there have been no recent complaints—the most recent was filed on July 18, which resulted in the July 26 violation, according to city records.
Tshaka conceded that residents living near the dealership may not be aware of the situation.
“Some just don’t know anything about zoning,” he said.
For Avella, it was also a matter of principle.
“The guy is violating the law,” he said.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, email@example.com or @farrellj329.