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Neighbors protest meat market


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Neighboring residents of a local meat market in Bellerose rallied to shut the market down on Monday, September 19.

Dozens of angry nearby homeowners protested alongside New York State Senator Tony Avella outside the store. They said Super Halal Meat Market, located at 253-06 Hillside Avenue, defies building and health codes and severely impacts the neighborhood’s quality of life.

“It’s about two American dreams colliding,” said neighbor Jennifer Newsom. “He is here in America and he wants a business. We’re here in America because we want the American Dream of a home with a white picket fence — in quiet.”

Newsom, who lives two doors down, said that among “a lot of different things,” she’s concerned about the noise from the air conditioner, the smell from the garbage and meat and the traffic jams on the street.
“I’m sad that the community has come to this. Now we have a divide in the community where it doesn’t need to be,” she said.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Markets, Super Halal Meat Market has failed three inspections since they opened last October. During this month’s inspection, the market was pinned for two critical deficiencies. The meat in the cooler was not cold enough — destroying 162 pounds of meat — and flies were present in the meat processing area, said spokesperson Michael Moran.

“No matter who you are in this city or state, if you run a business, you have to be a good neighbor and you have to follow the law,” Avella said. “It’s clear the owner of Super Halal Meat Market thinks he can fail on both counts. He’s not a good neighbor and he’s not following the law.”

The market has also racked up over $25,000 in total violation fines from the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Department of Buildings and the Environmental Control Board.

The fines have not been paid as of Monday, Moran said.

“There comes a point where you realize these people have no interest in resolving the complaints. I’ve decided it’s time to get the agencies to close them down,” Avella said.

Market owner Sheraz Khan said he is paying “pending fines” but still has to go to court for each violation. He said he has paid about $10,000 already.

“I never received any other bills. They were never fines. They were just warnings,” he said. “It’s pretty unfair. A lot of things have changed. We messed up in the beginning, but I’m fixing all the mistakes that were made. It’s not like I’m ignoring them. It doesn’t mean that we should be harassed.”

For neighbor Cecil Outram, besides the fact that traffic blocks the street and noisy trucks come “at all hours,” he said he doesn’t mind having the store across the street.

“It brightens the area in a way. They’re open 24 hours a day and I take the bus at 4 o’clock in the morning. It makes it safer,” he said. “They have to make a living too.”