Steve Chon, owner and developer of the 3 1/2-story building, said patrons won’t be entering from 131st Street, but at a side entrance from a short dead end street that leads to spa property. However, that was not the case on Thursday.
Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), a longtime critic of the project, believes the spa is in violation because it is allowing patrons to be dropped off in front of the building, backing up traffic on 131st Street. He will ask the appeals board to reopen the spa’s application to investigate.
Contested Spa Opens; Neighbors Still Say No
From the Times Ledger:
Malba spa opens with party and protest
Avella sued the city's Board of Standards and Appeals for allowing the spa to be built in a manufacturing zone - directly across the street from a gated Malba community. The suit was dismissed in April on the grounds that Avella had no standing to sue on behalf of residents, but the councilman vowed to appeal.
The Times Ledger's editorial:
Avella should not be pandering to fear
As a longtime community activist, we would have hoped that Mr. Avella would have tried to create better communications and understanding between the owners of the spa and their neighbors. Clearly, that's what the owners of the spa want. But that is not the path that the councilman has taken.
Hmmm...Let's go back to the Chronicle for a minute:
Although Chon said he has hired people from the neighborhood to work at the spa, and his lawyer, Eric Palatnik, said the spa was reaching out for business “not just to Koreans,” the opening day program was written entirely in Korean.
Question for the Ledger: If the owners are being exclusionary, then why is the community expected to welcome them with open arms?
Photo from Times Ledger