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Giant coffeehouse chain Starbucks is closer to opening up a new outlet on Nostrand Avenue this week after Community Board 15 threw its support behind the proposed project.
The board’s Zoning & Variance Committee okayed the applicant’s bid for a special permit despite objections from some that the volume of vehicular and foot traffic in the area would make the proposed drive-thru dangerous.
Located on an L-shaped lot at the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Gravesend Neck Road, the proposed 1,500-square-foot Starbucks would sit near a bus shelter for the B36 and B34.
The attorney arguing Starbucks’ case nevertheless suggested that the number of people normally waiting at the stop would not “spill” into the nearby drive-thru.
Opponents like Barbara Berardelli of the Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach Civic Association, however said that the 15 to 20 people that congregate at the bus stop at peak times did pose a potential hazard.
That area of Nostrand Avenue is already home to a number of other fast-food joints and drive-thrus.
There were other objections as well.
Longtime Community Board 15 member Ed Eisenberg questioned the wisdom of granting a special permit to opening a new Starbucks when the company has begun shutting down some of its other outlets.
“I want to know if that land is going to be zoned for somebody else,” he said. “You see so many projects starting and stopping.”
The site of the proposed Starbucks actually comprises two lots — one belonging to Starbucks and another currently left undeveloped.
Committee co-chair Ira Teper shut down Eisenberg, however, claiming that questioning the economic viability of the new Starbucks was beyond the board’s purview.
Starbucks’ attorney said the company was “selectively” opening new outlets and that the one on Nostrand Avenue is being targeted to commuters “going and coming back from work.”
Offering his own plug for Starbucks, Teper said, “Sheepshead Bay Road is dying. Nostrand Avenue is following. It needs a good anchor so business will survive.”
In addition to backing Starbucks, the committee also voted in favor two other special permits for home expansions at 1925 East 5th Street and 2153 Ocean Parkway. A request for a variance at 2623 East 11th Street was also approved.
An application to legalize an existing building at 148 Oxford Street was denied.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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