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Dozens of East Villagers crowded a Tuesday hearing at the Board of Standards and Appeals last week to oppose developer Gregg Singer’s plan to turn P.S. 64, a former school at 605 East 9th Street, into a dorm. Felicia Miller, general counsel to the Department of Buildings, urged the panel to reject Singer’s appeal, arguing that the building, which isn’t connected to any particular school, doesn’t qualify as a dorm. “Absent evidence of institutional control, the department may not issue a permit for a dormitory,” she said. The battle has also mobilized neighborhood activists and local politicians who want the neglected building, which once housed the CHARAS cultural center, to remain a community resource. “For those of us who’ve been through the bad times and the good, it really is a symbol of our struggle,” said Rosie Mendez, Democratic district leader and a candidate for City Council. Singer, who bought P.S. 64 for $3.15 million in 1998, declined to comment on the controversy. Throughout the hearing, he sat calmly near the back of the room, seemingly unfazed by the activists’ photo-snapping and hard stares. A final decision on the matter is expected in October. (C. Feldman) [08/22/05]

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