Vol. 19,  No.  15 July 27 - Aug. 23,  2006


Motel Opponents Plan Protest for August 2


Displeasure over plans to build a motel on Webster Avenue will spill onto the streets Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Members of Community Board 7 and others are planning to voice their opposition during a noon demonstration in front of the motel construction site at 3070 Webster Ave., a tiny slice of land wedged between a private home and an auto shop.

Construction has yet to begin, but plans to build a five-story motel were approved by the Buildings Department in late June.

Residents and Board members say the proposed Comfort Inn, which even the Buildings Department is calling a “transitional motel,” will attract undesirable clientele, including drug addicts and prostitutes. In Wakefield, just on the other side of the Bronx River Parkway, are about a dozen short-stay motels, which critics call “hot sheet motels” because they are often used for illegal activities.

Compounding the controversy is the fact that the site is half a block from PS/MS 20. Demonstration organizer Barbara Stronczer, who heads the Bedford Mosholu Community Association and serves on Community Board 7, said a group of concerned PS/MS 20 parents and faculty will attend the rally.

Though not officially sponsoring the demonstration, Board 7 members are “outraged” by the proposed motel, said Chair Greg Faulkner. The Board has appealed to Borough President Adolfo Carrión for help, but to no avail thus far. After initially saying she would answer questions e-mailed to her from the Norwood News about the motel, Carrión spokeswoman Ronnie Sykes didn’t respond to numerous attempts to contact her.

At the least, Faulkner would like the motel’s developer, Sam Chang, to reassure the community that the motel will not be sold and turned into a homeless shelter. Not offering short-stay options, or hourly room rentals, would also help quell the community’s fury, Faulkner said.

Comfort Inn’s parent company, Choice Hotels, did not return phone calls requesting comment.

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