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Queens Chronicle

Work application filed for Glendale shelter

Paperwork holding up construction; Hevesi digging into AECOM’s history

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Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:51 am, Thu Aug 7, 2014.

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) might not have been too far off the mark when he said at Community Board 5’s July 9 meeting that construction on the proposed Glendale homeless shelter may begin in two to four weeks.

Cooper Avenue Group LLC, the listed owner of the former factory at 78-16 Cooper Ave., filed a plan exam application with the Department of Buildings on July 11.

The filing may eventually make way for the building’s transformation into a 125-family homeless shelter, despite the application listing that only 103 proposed dwellings will be constructed.

The DOB denied the application on Monday because it was still missing some of the necessary paperwork, according to Alex Schnell, the agency’s deputy press secretary.

“The applications were disapproved because they did not provide the necessary documentation to show they were in compliance with all necessary codes and regulations,” Schnell said. “The applicant will need to obtain the appropriate documentation for the applications and provide it to DOB to show that the project would be in compliance with all necessary codes and zoning regulations.”

A source with knowledge of the situation said such an occurrence isn’t unusual and can easily be straightened out, depending on the determination of the applicant to do so.

The plan exam application comes three weeks after an environmental assessment determined the plot of land was safe enough for homeless families to be housed there.

At the July 9 CB 5 meeting, Hevesi, hammered AECOM, the renowned engineering firm that performed the survey, for glossing over aspects of the surrounding area and intentionally skewing the results of the “disgraceful” and “horrific” study in favor of DHS.

In a letter addressed to AECOM President Michael Burke dated July 21, Hevesi informed the company of the beginning of his investigation into AECOM’s history of environmental studies in search of anything to substantiate his claims.

“Please provide the exact number of environmental assessment statements or comparable analyses that have been conducted ... in New York State over the last 10 years,” Hevesi wrote. “Of those environmental assessment statements ... please provide the exact number that have resulted in the cancellation of the proposed projects.”

On Monday, it was Bishop Paul Sanchez of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn who, in a statement, called for compassion for the homeless in the wake of three controversial protests against the Pan American Hotel’s conversion into a shelter in Elmhurst, as well new shelters sparking outrage from residents in East Elmhurst and the Rockaways.

“In view of the needs of the homeless in our city, we must recognize those less fortunate in our midst ...,” Sanchez said. “As Catholics, who embrace the virtue of compassion, I invite you to pray for these homeless individuals and families and for those who work to create affordable housing units.”

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