CB5 gives thumbs up to Glendale street conversions

DOT conducted area-wide study

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Since late 2021, residents of Glendale have advocated that a select few streets in the neighborhood be converted from two-way to one-way.

They started a petition in favor of conversions of the streets, citing their 30-foot width with parking on both sides — making it difficult for cars to fit while driving in both directions and thus, causing sideswipes to occur.

In response, Queens Community Board 5 requested the Department of Transportation (DOT) perform an area-wide traffic study, from Myrtle to Cooper Avenues, and from 60th Lane to Cypress Hills Street.

Following their investigation of the area between January and June of 2022, the DOT recommended the following: that 60th Lane be converted to one-way northbound operation from Cooper Avenue to 75th Avenue, 75th Avenue to one-way eastbound operation from 60th Lane to 64th Street, 64th Street to one-way southbound operation from 75th Avenue to Cooper Avenue and 64th Place to one-way northbound operation from Cooper Avenue to Cypress Hills Street.

Eric Butkiewicz, chairman of CB5’s Transportation Committee, said that when the DOT presented their findings to the committee at a recent meeting, it was clear to them that the proposed north-south conversions are the right choice for the area.

“We didn’t find any significant impact on traffic flow, while also giving the residents what they’re looking for and seemingly reducing the risk of sideswipes and other accidents,” he said.

Butkiewicz noted that there was more debate among the committee in regard to the conversion of 75th Avenue to one-way eastbound operation from 60th Lane to 64th Street. The conversion of this street was not included in the initial petition started by locals, rather, was added by the DOT.

The committee was informed by the DOT that around 250 cars per hour, at peak hours in the morning, travel westbound on 75th Avenue. Therefore, if the street were to be converted to one-way eastbound traffic, those 250 cars would be rerouted to Cooper Avenue.

“This raised concerns in the committee that by routing 250 cars per hour to an already congested Cooper Avenue could pose severe problems, because Cooper Avenue is incredibly narrow also,” Butkiewicz said. “The concern is that we’re just going to take this problem, put it somewhere else and still be stuck with the same problem.”

As a result of the discussion, the vote was a six-to-six split for the conversion. Although it did not pass, Butkiewicz said the committee members who voted against the conversion of 75th Avenue committed to keeping a close eye on it going forward, recognizing the issues it faces.

On Nov. 9, CB5 held their monthly public meeting, where the whole board voted on the proposed north-south street conversions that were voted unanimously in favor by the Transportation Committee.

The board voted unanimously in favor of the north-south conversions with the acknowledgement that they will not recommend the eastbound conversion at this time, but will continue to monitor 75th Avenue and make changes if need be.

The Transportation Committee will pen a letter to the DOT with their decision, and it is ultimately up to them to take action and implement the conversion.

The DOT informed them that it could be a year-long process to put up the signs that would make these proposed streets one-way.

Homeless Committee formed in wake of antics

‘Listen, learn, react,’ CB5 says

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Cooper Rapids Rehousing Center is a 200-bed men’s homeless shelter in Glendale.

In response to the stark impact Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center has had on Glendale and its surrounding residential neighborhoods, Queens Community Board 5 has formed a committee for homeless services.

At the board’s Executive Committee meeting on Nov. 2, they decided the new committee will take an active role in the community, meaning they plan to conduct fact finding inquiries, address concerns of residents, identify problems and find adequate solutions to those problems in collaboration with relevant government agencies and service providers.

At CB5’s monthly public meeting in October, it was noted that over one thousand 911 calls were made from the shelter since it opened in 2020. The shelter, located at 78-16 Cooper Avenue, next to Artistic Stitch, has a population of about 180 men.

Kathy Masi, a Glendale resident and regular attendee of Community Advisory Board meetings held by Westhab, the shelter’s provider, said that the misuse of 911 is draining the already depleted services needed by the community.

She added that she and other community members have tried to form a civil working relationship with Westhab, which was the case for a while — until things took a turn for the worse.

“We spent two years, maybe more, going from a toxic to a nontoxic relationship where these meetings were running beautifully and everything was going nicely, only to find out how much we were being lied to,” Masi said. “It was out of control.”

According to Masi, a local reporter was asked to leave the meeting by Westhab when it took place.

Westhab is required to do community outreach monthly by way of a community advisory board as per their contract with the city — and the provider selects who participates on it.

In late September, CBS News did an exclusive interview with a man residing at Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center at the time, who came forward with what occurs behind closed doors.

The former shelter resident, who remained anonymous, claimed that he had been assaulted on numerous occasions, that both drug use and drug dealing occur inside the shelter and that residents engage in sexual acts in public, behind the shelter.

The man reached out to Councilman Robert Holden for assistance, and has since been moved to another location.

It was reported by CBS News that the assaults against him were under investigation by the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force — being he identifies as queer.

“From the moment this shelter was forced on our community by [former] Mayor de Blasio despite being in a non-sensical location, Westhab has been dishonest and incompetent. What goes on at this shelter is harmful to our community and to the shelter residents themselves,” Holden said.

Holden also addressed the danger he believes the shelter imposes on children in the community especially, by visiting one of the neighboring schools, PS/IS 87.

In a tweet, Holden revealed that he’d heard from parents and neighbors that a homeless individual had been harassing students of the school, along with residents.

In June, two women were assaulted on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale by a resident of the homeless shelter at the time. The perpetrator was a resident at the shelter for ten days following the assaults, and Westhab and the 104th Precinct never got together to catch him.

“We now have evidence of violence, drug abuse and a lack of supervision, including incidents exposed by a young resident of the shelter who came forward to speak to my staff and with CBS 2’s Dave Carlin,” Holden continued. “The city should not renew Westhab’s contract.”

According to the committee’s tentative mission, the Homeless Services Committee will meet quarterly at a minimum and present a report at the board’s monthly meeting.

In addition, nonmembers of CB5 who have an interest in the shelter will be permitted to be on the committee.

“We want the community to know that Community Board 5 is serious about homelessness,” said Walter Sanchez, first vice-chair of CB5.

“If we have a committee in place, even if they don’t meet too often, but they’re educated, I think it would be of great value to the community,” he continued. “It’s important to educate people. We need to listen, learn and react.”

Westhab did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Editor’s note: Walter Sanchez is the publisher of this news organization. His recent remarks were made in his capacity while chairing the executive committee meeting on Nov. 2.

‘Make Compost, Not Trash,’ DSNY says

By Billy Wood

[email protected]

Everyone is encouraged to compost. Photo: GrowNYC.

At the beginning of this month, the Department of Sanitation kicked off the curbside composting program for all of Queens County, with pick-ups scheduled on recycling days.

Compost pertains to items such as food scraps and leaves that are thrown out, but can be put in  soil to help plants grow.

Therefore, it’s better for the environment because it makes for less waste in landfills and reduces the release of methane into the air.

“One-third of what New York residents throw out is compostable,” said Allie Gumas, senior manager of drop off and community composting at the Department of Sanitation.

“If you want to throw in your meat, diary, and other food scraps we will take that,” said Gumas. “You are giving it to us already, it is just a matter of it getting composted or not.”

DSNY’s Allie Gumas spoke at last week’s CB5 monthly meeting.

As things continue to return to how they once were pre-COVID, Gumas and others are handing out fliers and mailers to help spread the word. They want everyone to know about the composting program.

“For now, we are still supplying free brown bins to the buildings that want to start participating,” she said. “It is like when recycling was first rolled out in the late ‘80s early ‘90s because they were giving out recycling bins.”

Curbside composting is not something new to the city. It began in Staten Island in 2013. Eventually, some neighborhoods in Queens did have compost service, but due to the pandemic, the funding had to be reallocated and composting was halted.

“It is important that we do organic recycling,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of Queens Community Board 5.  “It is 30 percent of the waste stream of NYC.”

One of the biggest expenses for the Department of Sanitation is the waste export. According to The Council of the City of New York, the budget for 2022 will be increased to $448.2 million.

“We need that composting. It will save the city a lot of money and even more important is that it is important for the environment,” Giordano said.

While it is still too early to get the data on the amount of homes that are making use of the curbside composting program, the department is hoping a high number of residents are participating.

The program will be on hiatus from the last week of December through March for winter preparation.

During those months, they will look into the data to see how much yard and food waste they receive. Once they have more information they will then gauge how they should move forward with this relatively new program.

While there will be no pick-ups during those months, there will be drop-off locations throughout the city that will accept your compost.

Locally, GrowNYC offers their composting program at the Ridgewood Farmstand, located at the Ridgewood Veterans Triangle at Myrtle and Cypress Avenues. Between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. each Saturday through Nov 19., folks can bring their food scraps to the location to make compost.

For information about drop-off locations, please visit https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dsny/site/services/food-scraps-and-yard-waste-page/nyc-food-scrap-drop-off-locations.

In The Age of Community Boards

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: positions on Community Boards should have term limits.

Community Board 5’s monthly meeting last Wednesday is the latest example of the point.

After some discussion of holding the Sept. meeting in person, the Board ultimately decided to do it on Zoom once again.

Fine, whatever.

But before the members could get to saying the Pledge of Allegiance completely out of sync with their speakers on, another 20 minutes were spent figuring out how to get the Zoom working smoothly. It’s quite hilarious, but also a bit uncomfortable to view an important and eventful meeting, with public hearings regarding the Fiscal Year 2024 Capital and Expense Budget, and the proposed conversion of streets in Glendale. How many times can one hear, “speak up?”

Too bad the entire meeting was extremely hard to follow, filled with formal jargon and bickering, and inaccessible to people new to the community and maybe even longtime residents.

“Community” is literally in the name of the agency, shouldn’t that be what it’s all about?

A burst of energy came through the screen when Eric Butkiewicz, the young Middle Village man who was recently appointed chair of the Transportation Committee, spoke about the committee’s evaluations of the two-way Glendale streets proposed to be converted into one-ways.

Butkiewicz spoke clearly, eloquently and actually seemed passionate about what he was discussing.

Can’t say the same for some of the others.

There was some confusion toward the end of the meeting on whether or not the board should vote on a matter or table it.

If the chairman of the board has to settle a disagreement with “Tell me what you want to do before I shoot myself,” it might be time to re-think some board positions.

Invite younger people to become engaged with matters concerning the community instead of making decisions for a demographic you no longer represent.

Ridgewood bar out of control, residents say

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Neighbors say that Suad Sports Cafe is “unable” to keep its patrons in check.

A Ridgewood establishment has sparked concerns among residents, causing them to lose sleep—literally.

Neighbors say that the patrons of Suad Sports Cafe, a bar located on 60th Lane and 71st Avenue, have been a menace to their quality of life—acting inappropriately at all hours of the day, and what one neighbor suspects as possible illegal activity.

Nancy Watson, a longtime neighboring resident, recently started a petition against the bar, which has garnered around 70 signatures so far.

She also submitted a letter to the public forum of Queens Community Board 5’s meeting this month, regarding events that have left people on the block feeling uneasy.

“Although the business has been around for 10+ years, over the last two years things have changed significantly for the worse,” the letter said. “Almost every single evening/night, there are several cars blocking the crosswalks, making it difficult and unsafe for pedestrians. This especially affects seniors and children in the area.”

It is not uncommon to see cars illegally parked near Suad Sports Cafe.

In addition to the illegal parking, Watson said she has seen patrons of the establishment driving irresponsibly, including revving their engines, performing burnouts, and speeding around the block.

“Someone’s going to get hit by a car… there are children and elderly people in the neighborhood,” Watson said.

“They are probably driving drunk, or just sleeping in their cars to sleep it off,” she continued. “It’s not even young guys. It’s just so bad.”

Watson sent a collection of photos to CB5, which show blocked crosswalks, large groups of men congregating in the middle of the street, men urinating on people’s stoops, excessive garbage, and what she claims to be the appearance of  a man ingesting an unknown substance in public.

“Now we have rats. I have never seen a rat in my yard, and a couple of weeks ago, I had four,” Watson said.

“You see them running rampant because they put garbage out on the sidewalk days before their garbage truck shows up.”

Adding to the sanitation and hygiene issue, Watson said that the security cameras outside her home captured a man urinating on her stoop—directly facing the camera.

It has also been reported that the patrons have publicly urinated on other people’s stoops, cars, trees, and plants.

Another neighbor, who requested to remain anonymous, said that despite the fact that she lives toward the end of the street, her household still faces “a fair amount of abuse” from the bar’s patrons.

“I called the cops two weeks ago on one guy who was actually going to the front of people’s houses, looking at the doorbells, and making notes of the names on people’s doorbells. On Thursday afternoon, I called the cops again, because a family was sitting on our stoop and just observing who exits the houses near us… who goes in, who goes out,” she said.

“We don’t want to be robbed. We don’t want to have our property vandalized,” she continued. “I’ve been reaching out to 311 and 911, but this bar just doesn’t want to go away.”

The resident said that their loud and disruptive behavior continues into the wee hours of the morning, making it impossible to sleep or relax.

Due to the loud noise and smoke smells, neighbors do not want to open up their windows to get fresh air, like they normally do.

“They are just a shady bunch of people,” the resident said.

“If you come here on a Saturday night into Sunday, you will see $20 bills, $100 bills shredded up and down the street,” she continued. “You will see playing cards, either whole playing cards or shredded ones that are bent because they’ll gamble, they’ll get into fights, and then they’ll bring the fighting all the way down to my side.”

Watson and other neighbors believe that the bar should be shut down, but CB5 said that the first step would be to have their liquor license revoked if there is evidence of illegal activity.

“First, we go to the [104] Precinct, see what the Precinct has, and then we notify the State Liquor Authority,” Vincent Arcuri, chairperson of the board, said at the last meeting. “If they’re up for renewal, we send them a notice saying they’re not getting renewed by us, and they ask for a hearing.”

Suad Sports Cafe last notified CB5 of their intent to renew their liquor license in January of this year.

Although residents say they’ve seen officers ticket and tow some illegally parked vehicles, many of them feel as though the police are not doing all that they can to put a stop to the commotion.

“The cops have not been able to provide the relief we were hoping for either,” Watson wrote in her statement to CB5.

“I have pictures of multiple cars parked illegally every single day and very few getting ticketed. After many 311 calls about the parking issues, the cops have towed cars on a couple of instances. All the while talking and laughing with the patrons,” it continued. “This seems to have emboldened the crowds even more, now anyone complains about anything to these guys, they say, ‘go ahead and call the cops.’ They won’t help you.”

The anonymous resident said she spoke with Deputy Inspector Kevin Coleman, the new commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, about the persisting issue at a community meeting.

“We’ve been trying to have the precinct work with us, but the police are limited in what they can do. From what I was told the last time I called the cops on these people, it literally has to escalate to such a level. Basically, they can’t do anything unless somebody gets hurt,” she said. “We are trying to prevent that from happening…You claim at the meeting that you want us to work alongside you guys, what is it that you need in order to shut this place down?”

Officer Michael Berish of the 104th Precinct said that police were informed of the location about a month ago.

“We’ve done enforcement there and we are working on things to correct the situation,” he said.

When interviewed by the Queens Ledger/Glendale Register, a man who identified himself as the owner of Suad Sports Cafe declined to comment.

Locals don’t see eye-to-eye on Citi Bike

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

As Citi Bike continues to expand in Queens and throughout the city, cyclists, drivers, and other commuters are becoming more vocal about their views on the bike sharing system.

This summer, the DOT and Lyft plan to follow through with a Citi Bike expansion plan that was released in February, adding 52 Citi Bike stations throughout Community Board 5’s neighborhoods of Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, and Ridgewood.

Because the majority of proposed Citi Bike locations are in roadbeds, community leaders and civic groups remain concerned about the impact on small businesses and residential areas with the loss of parking that’s to come.

In response, the Juniper Park Civic Association released a counter proposal to the DOT’s Citi Bike draft plan in April, suggesting that only 43 stations be added to the community—all on sidewalks.

“We’re a transit desert in most of the areas, so they were putting more of their stations in the street, which takes parking away from people who need it for parking at their residences or businesses,” said Christina Wilkinson, a member of JPCA.

“I think our plan is more sensitive to the needs of the community,” she continued. “We’re having bus stops taken away from us and spaced further apart. So having bike share with this narrow criteria that the DOT has of every two or three blocks is not very realistic if they’re asking people who take mass transit to walk further to get to the bus.”

Although Wilkinson said that the DOT seemed fairly receptive to their counter proposal, it has since been revealed that most of their suggestions were rejected.

Since then, Councilman Robert Holden called out the DOT, demanding they stand up for New Yorkers and work with civic organizations to incorporate community feedback into these plans.

He has also called for Queens DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia to be fired.

“The Queens DOT has repeatedly put the brakes on most requests for stop signs, speed bumps, and other traffic safety measures. Someone shouldn’t have to die for the Queens DOT to act, but that is exactly what the Queens

DOT has done under Commissioner Garcia,” Holden said in a statement.

“Garcia’s Queens DOT makes a dog and pony show out of asking for community input and then throws it in the gutter,” he continued. “Lyft’s Citi Bike program continues to gobble up parking spaces badly needed by hardworking New Yorkers, like a giant corporate PAC-MAN who refuses to hear the reasonable requests of middle-class neighborhoods in favor of the fanatical anti-car movement and a corporation with a vested interest in getting New Yorkers to give up owning cars.”

Although she supports cyclists and feels all commuters should be able to live cohesively, Kathy Masi, a Glendale resident and member of Queens Community Board 5, also feels angry and ignored due to the “lack of transparency” surrounding the issue.

“The DOT made a proposal of where these locations were going to be, sent it to Community Board 5, who sent it to the Transportation Committee, who never sent it to the entire Community Board for a vote. Every board member has a right to this information and the right to have input,” she said.

“It actually seems that there was no thought process by DOT or, had this gone to the entire Community Board for discussion, I’m sure that a lot of these issues would have been brought up,” she continued. “We have never had a major DOT issue that was not put before the board. For example, the bus lane on Fresh Pond Road.”

As skepticism of the proposed Citi Bike locations continues, other residents are just as outspoken about why they believe more docking stations would improve the community.

Elizabeth Crowley, a Ridgewood resident, former councilwoman for Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, and parts of Woodside and Woodhaven in District 30, and a candidate for State Senate District 59, is actively pro-bike, advocating for protected bike lanes and for more folks to ditch their cars and start biking.

She is in favor of the DOT’s Citi Bike plan to build locations in roadbeds.

“The sidewalks are for pedestrians, and far too many pedestrians feel threatened by bikers. We need to remind cyclists, as some of them are not respecting sidewalks and using them when they have to stay on the road. The whole idea of taking up a sidewalk is counterintuitive to using our roads for cyclists,” Crowley said.

Mollie Lauffer, a Glendale resident and an organizer of new bike advocacy group Ridgewood Rides, echoed Crowley’s sentiment that Citi Bike stations are safest on the road, not the sidewalk.

“Sidewalks are already too crowded and there’s not enough space for people as it is. Cars park on them and cause damage, cars block crosswalks, and people can’t see when they’re trying to cross the street. If bicycles are parked in the road it’ll prevent cars from parking there and make it safer for everyone,” Lauffer said.

She argued that because a single parking space can fit at least 10 bikes and many cars in the area only have one occupant, the city should not have to go out of its way to preserve street parking spots.

“Biking has exploded in Ridgewood the past couple years. You can see people riding bikes here all over the place and people are just trying to make do—Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth doesn’t have any truly protected bike lanes with hard barriers,” Lauffer said.“It’s time for us to have safe infrastructure like they’re building everywhere else in the city.”

WellLife Network brings affordable housing to Glendale

Housing for homeless, income-eligible folks

After years of planning, vying for community support, and construction, WellLife Network finally cut the ribbon on a brand new five-story affordable apartment complex in Glendale.

Dedicated to serving people across the five boroughs and Long Island with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses, WellLife Network plans to continue its mission to empower individuals to live dignified lives and achieve their goals with this new supportive mixed use apartment building.

The building, located at 80-97 Cypress Avenue, has 66 units, which are a combination of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments.

Forty of these units are reserved for the homeless, while the remaining 26 units are for individuals in the community who meet low-income eligibility criteria, or 60 percent of the area median income.

Sherry Tucker, CEO of WellLife Network, is saddened by the fact that over 25,000 applications were submitted for the 26 community units, revealing how much demand there is for affordable housing in New York.

The previous property at the site of 80-97 Cypress Avenue was a community eyesore for years.

“At WellLife, we work very hard to be good neighbors, wherever we go, and we are always interested in trying to improve the areas in any way we can,” she said. “We’d love to be an asset to the neighborhood and really try to help in any way we can to make it be the very best it can be, and we always want to be a part of the community in any way possible.”

On June 9, WellLife Network commemorated the official grand opening of the building with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Local officials attended the event to compliment the project, including Ingrid Lewis-Martin, chief adviser to Mayor Eric Adams; Ahmed Tigani, deputy commissioner of NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development; and New York City Councilman Robert Holden.

“WellLife, in partnership with the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development has created a model mixed-housing development for some of our most vulnerable residents in need of supportive services, as well as for New Yorkers who just need good and decent affordable housing,” Lewis-Martin said. “We strongly encourage other developers to ‘honor the call’ to create affordable housing with amenities in communities that systematically have been on the fringes. Kudos to WellLife and HPD for a job well done.”

Tucker said that WellLife’s proposal to open this apartment complex was approved unanimously by Community Board 5.

Walter Sanchez, chairman of CB5’s Land Use Committee, said that the board’s decision to approve was the right thing for the neighborhood.

“We know that every area has to do their part in supportive housing, and we think this fits in very well with us, so our board voted overwhelmingly to approve the project,” he said.
WellLife also held public forums to hear the community’s concerns—many of which they took into consideration when tweaking the specs of the project, such as potential traffic congestion and excessive height.

However, some neighbors on Cypress Avenue are skeptical of what changes the new apartment complex might bring to the community, especially with widespread concerns about the nearby men’s homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue, Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center.

“We’re not happy about this; it’s going to be a mess,” one neighbor, who requested to remain anonymous, said. “That’s why my landlord is selling this house and we’re leaving.”

Another neighbor, Yaffa Tamano, said that she’s also not in favor of the project because it’s out of character for the rest of the block, and might bring unwanted change to the neighborhood.

Councilman Robert Holden, who has openly criticized the Cooper homeless shelter in the past, emphasized that WellLife’s new affordable housing project is in no way comparable to it.

“This is actually a home for people; they’re going to stay there. This is not something like a shelter where they’re transient and they come and they have problems,” Holden said.
“This place actually supports and treats them … Some have mental health issues, some are just falling on hard times, and some are coming from shelters, but they will get their own apartment, which is great.”

Tucker said that the building has various amenities and services that will significantly improve the quality of life for residents, such as 24/7 front desk coverage, on-site support services, a laundry room, gym, and a deck that offers a perfect view of the city skyline.

She noted that the site just passed a final routine HPD inspection, and families could start moving in as early as this week.

“The Cypress Avenue residence helps WellLife achieve its ongoing vision to create income-eligible, supportive, and affordable mixed-use housing developments that offer a safe and nurturing environment where all tenants feel a sense of belonging to a larger community,” she said.

Editor’s Note: Walter Sanchez is the publisher of BQE Media. His recent remarks were made in his capacity as chairman of CB 5’s Land Use Committee.

614 Woodward Avenue repossessed by the city

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Correction*

New information regarding the story “614 Woodward Avenue repossessed by the city” learned by the Queens Ledger after press time, indicates that a tax lien sale certificate has been placed on the property which remains in the possession of Silvershore Properties. Tower Capital Management is handling the sale.

Ridgewood’s biggest eyesore is no longer owned by Silvershore Properties.

The property, left abandoned and unproductive for several years, has now been repossessed by the Bank of New York because of unpaid taxes, NYC Department of Finance records show.

After years of 311 reports, complaints to the Community Board, and efforts to clean up the site, the property was taken back by the city on Feb. 24.

The action was filed to the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) on March 4.

Tyson Washburn, a resident of Ridgewood, suspects this was the plan all along.

He said that he knew the site would be an issue since the building, where there is now an empty lot, was illegally demolished about five years ago.

“They got a stop work order and a fine for that, and I sort of knew they were going to abandon it. The moment they stopped, they didn’t pay for their dumpster to be picked up, and so the guys who own the dumpster had to pick it up and pay the cost,” Washburn said.

“And it’s just kind of getting worse and worse. I’ve reported multiple times about the sidewalk being in terrible disarray and the scaffolding that has been up for more than two years. At one point, there was water constantly leaking from it.”

At least a dozen 311 service requests have been made regarding dirty conditions, graffiti, rodents, and illegal dumping at 614 Woodward Avenue in the span of the past month.

From February until now, eight summonses have been issued to Silvershore Properties by the Department of Sanitation, as a result of people illegally dumping their garbage there.

Washburn suspects that since the building was torn down illegally, the city may have to demolish the remaining property.

“It’s definitely unsafe,” he said. “If you look at that building, you can see it is crumbling. I’m not sure what they can do with it.”

Gary Giordano, district manager of Queens Community Board 5, said that the board has requested that the Department of Buildings reinspect the site.

“I don’t know what the Buildings Department is going to be able to do as far as gaining safe entry goes,” Giordano said. “So if they could see the property from the roof of someone nearby, they would get a much better idea about the condition of the property. Often, if the roof is a problem, the inside is going to be a real problem.”

He added that it’s hard to say if the site will be demolished, and that the “best situation” would be to have extensive work done on the property as opposed to demolition.

Giordano suggested that if there’s no demand to operate a business at the site, and the building can be salvaged and renovated, that people could eventually live there.

“There is a shortage of housing, and I haven’t seen anybody doing anything there that has been of any use for at least seven years. I think it would be a good site to have some apartments on the first floor,” he said.

“But you would have to go to the Department of Buildings to get that done. It would be hard to have something there for public use, in any period of time, where the property doesn’t sit there for a while.”

A representative from Silvershore Properties could not be reached for comment.

Juniper track construction sees further delays

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Renovations to Juniper Valley Park’s track and field were put on the back burner when a large concrete clog in its main drainage line was discovered.

The project cannot resume until the concrete clog, as well as additional damage to a smaller section of pipe, is repaired.

Supply chain issues and a lack of registration with the comptroller’s office has shut out park goers from the facility for well over a year.

Gary Giordano, district manager of Queens Community Board 5, said that the change order was registered with the comptroller’s office in mid February, which was primarily for the subcontractor hired by the contractor, Applied Landscape Technologies, to remove drainage pipe from the site and replace it.

The contractor is supposedly working on getting permits from the Department of Buildings and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Giordano said they will need a temporary sheeting permit from the Department of Buildings, because the main sewer connection is 26 feet underground.

“That way, after the area around the pipe is excavated, the metal sheeting will prevent the rest of the Earth from covering the pipe again so there is room to work on it,” Giordano said.

Giordano said that it’s “hopeful” the contractor will start work in late March or early April.

“I am told that Applied Landscape Technologies is really on the ball with this, so if they can get their permits and start working, I would hope that they could start working by late this month or early April,” he said.

Giordano said that the long term closure of the track and field affects not just Middle Village, but its surrounding communities whose residents also use the facility.

“Soccer is more and more popular, and children and teenagers need to be able to run around and get some exercise. So now, the prime place for playing soccer in our neighborhoods is not available,” Giordano said.

“It’s forcing the soccer teams that had permits there to try to get permits elsewhere, which costs a lot of money. Children have a hard time not being able to practice close to home,” he continued. “Local football and soccer organizations are closed out of there, not to mention all the people who simply love to walk or jog around the track.”

Giordano added that if Applied Landscape Technologies can get back to work as planned, there is hope that the project will be completed before the end of 2022.

CB5 to hold virtual meeting on Wednesday

Community Board 5 will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m.
On the agenda is a public hearing regarding a citywide health and fitness zoning text amendment. Currently gyms, martial arts studios, spas, licensed massage therapists and many other health-related businesses require a special permit from the Board of Standards and Appeals to open in most parts of New York City.
The Department of City Planning is proposing new rules to ease these restrictions. Under this proposed zoning text amendment, the special permit requirements would be removed. The BSA process for obtaining a permit can be extremely costly, often adding six months and as much as $50,000 in startup costs to open a gym or other physical culture establishment.
There will also be a public hearing regarding a citywide Open Restaurants zoning text amendment. The City Council has passed legislation making the Open Restaurants program permanent.
The Deptaartment of City Planning has worked with the Department of Transportation and other city agencies to draft regulatory changes that would allow sidewalk restaurants and cafes to remain.
There will also be a public forum to review applications for the sale of alcoholic beverages and building demolition notices, and committee reports, as well as nominations and elections for Executive Committee positions.
Members of the public can view the meeting at youtu.be/9UIGFJ2c4xg or nyc.gov/qnscb5.
Anyone wishing to offer a statement at the public hearing or during the public forum is asked to submit a typed statement to [email protected] by 2 p.m. on JUne 12, so that it can be read into the record.
For additional information, call the Board 5 office at (718) 366-1834.

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