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Local News September 20, 2012  RSS feed

HOME FOR KIDS IN OZ. PK. OK’D

Also At Board 9: Traffic Flow Changes Debated
by Sam Goldman


Dominick Pistone of the Kew Gardens Civic Association talks to Community Board 9 about various proposed street changes at the group’s Tuesday, Sept. 11 meeting at Villa Russo in South Richmond Hill. 
(photo: Sam Goldman) Dominick Pistone of the Kew Gardens Civic Association talks to Community Board 9 about various proposed street changes at the group’s Tuesday, Sept. 11 meeting at Villa Russo in South Richmond Hill. (photo: Sam Goldman) During a marathon session last Tuesday, Sept. 11, Community Board 9 looked at a proposed home for juvenile delinquents and several proposed street changes at its meeting at Villa Russo in South Richmond Hill.

The Martin de Porres Agency and the city came seeking Board 9’s approval to run a boarding home for juvenile delinquents at 101-30 92nd St. in Ozone Park, and received it.

According to Jackie Sherman of the Administration for Children’s Services, the home will be part of the state’s Close to Home program, which seeks to “improve public safety and improve outcomes” by placing delinquent youths in a facility close to their communities, or finding alternative programs.

Juvenile felony arrests have decreased by 22 percent over the past six years, she added, since the program was enacted in the city.

The facility will have alarms and highly trained workers on the premises at all times, as well as security cameras inside and outside the property, it was stated.

A social worker will hold counseling sessions with the teenagers at the site, and will be bussed to and from school.

However, under state law, the board can only vote against the group home if the area is determined to be oversaturated and if a significant negative impact to the community can be demonstrated, according to Board 9 Land Use Committee Co-Chairperson Sylvia Hack, who added that Board 9 does not meet those specifications.

Street flow debate

Several residents spoke out against a proposed change to the flow of traffic along 84th Avenue between Lefferts Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is looking to convert the street from a westbound street into an eastbound one.

Among those against the conversion were Dominick Pistone and Murray Berger of the Kew Gardens Civic Association. Pistone, the group’s president, expressed concern that the change will increase speeds and divert traffic to 85th Avenue.

“Nobody’s spoken to me in favor of it. Everybody’s against it,” he warned. “I don’t see the reason for it.”

He suggested a ticket blitz on double-parked trucks in both directions instead.

Several of the residents claim that the change would exacerbate speeding and pose a risk for area children.

Local resident David Milder called the idea “one of the worst examples of planning I have seen,” calling for the DOT to explain its reasoning and possibly come up with alternative solutions. “Where is the thought in this?”

“We have to have a message sent back to the DOT that this is a really bad example of transportation planning,” he told the crowd, “and we should not tolerate this type of produce being presented to us.”

Board 9 will vote on this street flow change at its October meeting, along with a move to convert 97th Avenue between 97th and 98th streets from a two-way to a one-way street.

Speed humps

Six speed humps were approved by Board 9. They will be installed on 104th Street between 88th and 89th avenues; on 89th Avenue between 102nd and 104th streets; on 89th avenue between Jamaica Avenue and 86th Road; on Abington Road between 83rd Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard; on 96th Street between Park Lane South and Jamaica Avenue; and on 91st Avenue between 104th and 107th streets.

Several residents, including Berger, spoke in favor of the speed humps in the area.

Kate Mooney, representing City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, suggested that the DOT make a more comprehensive examination of the area around 88th and 89th avenues, telling Board 9 that “I don’t know if speed hump after speed hump is the solution.”

Board 9 Chairperson Andrea Crawford would agree, announcing that the community board will begin to catalog traffic complaints from within its confines.

“This is a band-aid,” she said of the speed humps. “You have to put the band-aid on to stop the bleeding.”

Liquor license applications

Board 9 voted down four liquor license applications.

Crystal Blue Party Room & Theater, at 74-02 101st Ave. in Ozone Park, and an establishment with no current name at 116-35 Metropolitan Ave. in Richmond Hill were both denied requests for new on-premises liquor licenses.

Oradeks Coffee House, at 82-60 Austin St. in Kew Gardens, was denied a request for an on-premises wine/beer license.

Finally, Starz Princess Inc., at 107-11 101st Ave. in Ozone Park, did not get the board’s approval to renew an on-premises liquor license.

102nd Precinct

“We’ve had a busy summer,” Capt. Martin Briffa, the 102nd Precinct’s executive officer, told the crowd. “The whole city’s been busy.”

Arrests over the past month are up 40 percent, he noted.

Briffa stated that the precinct is eyeing two “party houses” in the area, in cooperation with the Department of Buildings.

Morgan Jones of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit would add that the precinct, in cooperation with the Bureau of Housing Preservation and Development, has “sealed” one of the locations.

Richmond Hill H.S.

Wayne Anderson, the new principal of Richmond Hill High School, spoke about “a revival” at the embattled school, which had been scheduled to close at year’s end as part of a “turnaround” program but was saved when the program was voided in court.

“We’ve changed our mission statement, and I’d like to share that with you to let you know that our emphasis is on our students,” he stated, with a focus on the “academic, social and emotional growth of our students and rigorously prepare them for postsecondary success and participation in the 21st century global economy.”

“I’m going to make sure that we’re visible, viable and relevant,” he told Board 9.

In a related story, Board 9 Education Committee Chairperson Seth Wellins noted that his committee is looking into what happened to the monies set aside to implement the “turnaround” program.

Other news

More planes were flying over the heads of Board 9 residents under Federal Aviation Association pilot program to change airplane routes, according to Crawford.

The pilot program, which concluded in August, is currently being reviewed; Board 9 has asked the agency to contact them if they decide to make the new routes permanent.

Mooney also announced that Crowley has secured funding to renovate the Woodhaven Library, and has asked the city to keep the Civic Virtue statue, currently near Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, in the borough.

District Manager Mary Ann Carey noted that three hate crime incidents in Community Board 9 over the summer, including anti-Semitic graffiti on a local elevator on July 18, an anti-African-American graffiti foundonaJtrainat104thStreet,and a swastika found on July 23 inside a Kew Gardens elevator.

Patrick Jenkins of Resorts World New York stated that, one year after opening, the South Ozone Park casino is still hiring.

Interested residents can visit www.rwnewyork.com for more information.

The next meeting of Community Board 9 will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at the Fairfield Pavillion, located at 131-10 101st Ave. in Richmond Hill.