At its February meeting, the board voted 24-6 to deny the application for the four-day street festival, which would run from September 7-10.
Over the previous objections of the board, the festival's organizer, the Federazione Italo Americana Di Brooklyn & Queens, was able to appeal to the mayor's office for a permit, although last year's event was truncated to just two days.
Objections from board members include the gridlock that comes with closing a major commercial thoroughfare and surrounding residential streets for four days, as well as safety issues that may arise from a festival that ends at 10 p.m.
District manager Gary Giordano explained that it makes deliveries for trucks difficult during the week and forces residents to go to Forest Avenue to get to public transportation. Other festivals are Sunday-only events, which have a more minimal impact on the community, he added.
“Those of us who live between Fresh Pond and Traffic Avenue are effectively immured for four nights,” said Margaret O'Kane, a resident who opposed the festival's permit. “We can't go anywhere, nobody can come to see us, and everybody parks in our driveways and all over our street.
“We are their vomitorium and their bathroom,” she added
Carmen Santana, a Ridgewood resident of 25 years, said every year it's the only festival that receives any pushback from the community board. She herself opposed it in the past, but has since come around.
“As far as I know, and I've been following it throughout the years, there have been no incidents at this particular festival,” she said.
She said a 2008 shooting is often blamed on the festival, but that it happened a few blocks away and had nothing to do with the event.
Organizer Lucy Dolce said she didn't attend the board meeting because she knew they would deny the application. She still plans on going to the mayor's office to seek a permit for a four-day festival.
She said if work is still going on at the intersection of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue, she would be amenable to shortening the festival again if the city makes the same recommendations.
In the past few years, she said the attacks on the festival and her organization have gotten more vulgar, noting that people have criticized the work the group does in the community the rest of the year.
“It's okay to disagree and not like the festival,” she said. “It's not okay to tarnish somebody's reputation.”
Dolce, who served on the community board for eight years, said maybe it's time to get some new members.
“On that board, there's a lot of dead wood that shouldn't be there anymore,” she said. “You need fresh minds, you can't look at things with tunnel vision all the time.”