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CB 11 fights ban on block street fairs

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by amanda marinaccio

Community Board 11 is hoping to end the ban on new multi-day/block street fairs and activities by sending a letter to elected officials and community boards throughout the outer boroughs.

The letter sent by CB11 came as a result of a request for a multi-day/block permit to raise funds for St. Francis Xavier School, which was turned down because of a new city regulation.

According to a rule implemented by the Office of Citywide Events Coordination and Management through the Office of the Mayor, the office will ‘deny applications for street activity permits for events not held in the preceding calendar year.’

This enforcement was put into affect due to the approximately 300 street events that occur throughout New York City. According to the report, ‘many of these events involve permits for the use of multiple blocks over several days, the erection of structures, the vending of food, apparel and other goods and the use of amplified sound and the performance of music.’

The report further elaborated that these events place a burden on the city by requiring additional police presence and an increase in overtime expenditure by the city.

“Our board passed a motion to file an objection to this regulation. It is unfair and biased against the outer boroughs,” said John Fratta, district manager of CB11. “In a case like St. Francis where they need the money and the community had no problems with it, it’s unfair.”

In a letter from CB11 chairman, Dominic Castore, to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Castore stated: ‘In reality these events mostly take place in Manhattan. Our district has no multi-day/block events. The Borough of the Bronx, as I am sure the three other boroughs of the city, do not have large numbers of these events.”

It further goes on to state that it should be for the local community board or borough to decide the fate of any application for the permit.

“We are not advocating these events in our district, but it should be up to the community,” said Fratta. “With the economic crisis money is drying up and the not-for-profits should have the right to find ways to raise money.”

The letter was sent to each community board in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Councilmembers Jimmy Vacca, Joel Rivera, Larry Seabrook, Oliver Koppell, Annabel Palmer, and acting Borough President Early Brown.

According to Kenneth Kerns, district manager of CB10, the matter will be brought up at their next full board meeting in April.

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group