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Queens Chronicle

CB 13 approves store, gas station, group home

Says no to ICCC street access plan

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Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 11:14 am, Thu Jul 5, 2012.

It was a land-use heavy agenda at the Community Board 13 meeting on Monday, with four items to be voted upon. A convenience store, gas station and group home got the green light, while a nonprofit’s proposal to use an emergency access point at the Creedmoor campus got a big thumbs down.

The first application was for a variance to build a store in a residentially zoned area. The proposal, presented by architect Gerald Caliendo, was for a retail establishment at 177-60 South Conduit Ave. in Springfield Gardens.

The site is 99 feet wide by 80 feet deep. The proposed building is 76 feet wide by 31 feet deep. It would be one story high and would have 10 parking spaces, Caliendo said.

The land has remained vacant for many years and now the longtime lessee of the adjacent gas station has purchased the property and is hoping a big name chain like 7-Eleven or Starbucks will set up shop there.

Richard Hellenbrecht, the chairman of CB 13’s Land Use Committee, recommended that the application be approved because the site is not suited for houses since it is in a high-traffic area near the Cross Island Parkway.

Although the board voted in favor of the plan 24-0, there were stipulations. The community did not want the following types of stores —laundromats, pawn shops, delis, storefront churches, check-cashing facilities, liquor stores, hookah bars or bars of any sort.

They also requested that shrubs be planted to provide a buffer between the store and homes, that the driveway be placed to the left of the establishment rather than the right for safety reasons and that the operating hours be restricted to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The second application was by Sinergia, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities. It wants to create a “supervised individualized site” for client Kenneth Berg, 31, who is blind and deaf, and two caretakers in an apartment at 74-12 260 St. within the Glen Oaks Village co-op complex. Berg works during the day at the Queens County Farm Museum collecting eggs.

“I can’t imagine there would be any issue or trouble stemming from this residence,” said Michael Mitchell, the deputy executive director of Sinergia. “It will be overseen, operated and maintained by Sinergia. We are good at our job. We know what we’re doing, and this would be a very fine opportunity for Kenny to increase his independence.”

Bob Friedrich, the president of Glen Oaks Village, did not want CB 13 to vote on the item because he said the board of directors at the co-op should have the final say on whether the living arrangement is approved. The executive board members disagreed and voted anyway, passing the item 23-0, but they did say it would be conditional, pending an approval by the Glen Oaks board.

The third application was to renew the variance for a gas station at 239-15 Jamaica Ave. in Bellerose. It was approved by a vote of 23-0. There was some concern about the unsightly storage of tires and other aesthetic problems, but the owner had rectified them.

The last item of the evening was voted down 17-0 with five abstentions. The Indian Cultural and Community Center’s plan to build on the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus cannot move ahead until the group shows that the development would have access to a mapped city street.

The ICCC was granted access to the 82nd Avenue emergency access point on the east side of Creedmoor in the deed for one of the parcels it bought, according to the group’s zoning lawyer, Jordan Most. The driveway is already being used by the Bernard Fineson Developmental Center, which provides housing for adults with disabilities, prompting safety concerns at the May 21 CB 13 meeting.

The vote was tabled last month because the board had not yet received a recommendation from its Land Use Committee and the members wanted to wait for the results of two ongoing state probes into the land deal.

But on Monday the members decided to proceed with the vote based solely on the merit of the application rather than wait for the conclusion of the investigations, because they feared if they didn’t take a stand they might lose their opportunity.

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