Shops expansion provokes board disapproval
Neighbors of a body shop in Bensonhurst have made it loud andclear that they do not want it to expand. At the most recentCommunity Board 11 Zoning and Planning Committee meeting, SpiroIoannou, owner of One Diagnostic, at 8102 New Utrecht Avenue,requested adding a water-based auto spray paint booth inside hisgarage and utilizing five parking spaces in his lot as a place tostore cars for sale. Right now, those spots are being used for carswaiting to be repaired. Members at the meeting unanimouslydisapproved the motion. They suggested that the spray paint fumeswould be a health hazard and cars waiting to be repaired would haveto be double parked on the already congested avenue under theelevated train. But just because this expansion was unanimouslydisapproved, it does not mean a victory for Bensonhurst residents.The motion can still be passed by the City Council. I don’t likethe smoke and fumes when they paint the cars, said JohnBarravecchio, who has lived adjacent to the shop for the past 46years, adding that his recently-married daughter, who livesupstairs, already gets headaches from the smell. I feel sorry, Idon’t want to go against the man, but I don’t like these paintfumes that can kill you, Barravecchio said. The body shop is nextstore to my kitchen window– the fumes are going to come right intothe house. I like to be friends, but this is going overboard. ButIoannou, who has owned the space for the past 18 years, said he isdoing this for economic reasons. Things are bad, explainedIoannou. I can’t afford to pay my workers. If I can sell somecars, I can keep my staff. He added that the paint he would useis water based, environmentally safe and will be confined to theinside of his garage. I am doing everything by the book – I evenhave an architect’s approval, Ioannou said. I have a license tosell cars. I am not breaking any laws. I don’t want to botheranyone. He explained that there would be exhaust filters under theshop’s floor so fumes would be properly ventilated, and he evensuggested that he could help clean up the graffiti in the area.Aloi Mohamed, who works at Sunshine, a business across the street,says he has no issues with the expansion. Everyone is strugglingand we need this auto shop here, he said, adding that the garagefaces a very commercialized area. The subway runs right here, it’sa good spot for him, there aren’t a lot of people walking by.Stephanie Moreno, who recently moved in a block away from OneDiagnostic, said she had no problem with the car sales, but didhave concerns about the spray paint machine. What if kids walkinghome from school breathe them in? Moreno asked. I’m more worriedabout those fumes.
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