Braunstein, Kim, Civic Leaders, and Residents Protest Star Nissan

Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) were joined today by members of the Station Road Civic Association, the Auburndale Improvement Association, and the Kissena Park Civic Association, to protest Star Nissan's destruction of city trees this week along Auburndale Lane, 42nd Avenue and 172nd Street. These trees provide a noise barrier between the Star Nissan service center and surrounding homes. Star was issued 22 summonses and fined over $80,000 by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

"For years, residents have been complaining about the Star locations in Auburndale and Bayside," said Assemblyman Braunstein. "I have files from my predecessor dating back 15 years regarding the noise at the Star service center as well as Star continuing to park vehicles on public sidewalks at their Bayside dealerships. And now they illegally damage the city trees surrounding their service center. Enough is enough! If Star wants to continue to operate in our community, they must finally be a good neighbor and stop damaging the quality of life for those who reside near their locations."

"When I worked for the Department of Buildings many years ago, this neighborhood and its residents had already been dealing with a number of serious issues caused by Star Service Center that impacted their day to day living," said Assemblymember Ron Kim. "Today, these issues and complaints remain the same, if not worse, with the destruction of city property now part of the list. This is why I am standing up with my colleague, Edward Braunstein, to speak up for our community and say loud and clear that this is absolutely unacceptable."

"On Tuesday, employees of Star Nissan/Toyota's service center committed yet another in a long series of arrogant and malicious acts against the surrounding community," said Rhea O'Gorman, Co-President of the Station Road Civic Association. "Only this time the act was also illegal - employees, at their managers behest, severely damaged 20 city trees and less severely damaged two others, sometimes sawing, sometimes ripping branches, bark and interior tree matter in an attempt to 'prune' the trees. Never was consideration given to the life of the trees, the fact that the trees were planted at the direction of the Mayor's Office, twice under police guard, to ameliorate some of the negative impacts this business has on the surrounding homes, or that it is illegal to prune a city tree. The $84,000 in fines levied by the Parks Department in no way compensates for the loss of the trees, some of whom will die as a result of the assault, and the permanent alteration of the tree canopy. The manager who perpetrated this atrocity has a long history of antagonism and ill will toward the community - he must be removed from his current position where he sets an anti-community tone for the workers and will always exacerbate an inherently bad situation. Ownership has long been aware of his propensity for bad decisions when it comes to interactions with the community and bears full responsibility for his actions."

"The Star Nissan and Toyota business has once again committed an egregious act against the surrounding community," said Terri Pouymari, President and Henry Euler, First Vice President of the Auburndale Improvement Association. "Someone from their employ desecrated over 20 street trees around their property by hacking off lower branches and in some cases peeling off bark leaving trees open for disease. The life expectancy for these trees has been put in serious jeopardy. In our urban environment, there is a particular need to have a dense canopy cover in order to clean the air and lower temperatures in hot weather. People are forbidden from cutting limbs off of street trees without a permit because trees are so valuable to all people living in a community. This destruction by the Star Nissan and Toyota companies is a selfish and stupid act and shows their continuing disregard and contempt for their neighbors. These fines must be paid in full. It will send a message to all, that desecration of our street trees is not permissible or condoned.

"Their bad behavior is not limited to the Station Road area. They have show rooms on Northern Boulevard and the Clearview Expressway. Star Nissan continuously parks more vehicles on their lot than permitted and sometimes parks vehicles on the sidewalk forcing pedestrians to walk in the busy adjacent streets. Star Toyota has failed to renew their variance, which expired in July, 2011. Star Toyota also delivers vehicles to customers on their side lot, which is a breach of a condition in their variance," said President Pouymari and First Vice President Euler.