Community Board 12 has unanimously approved the construction of a two-family house that will serve as a group home for eight adults stricken with cerebral palsy.
The vote took place at the board’s monthly meeting on May 16 at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center in St. Albans.
During his presentation, Joseph Pancari, executive vice president and COO for Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York, said the group plans to construct the building at 110-35 164 Place, adjacent to where the group has had a home for 15 adults since 1993.
Pancari said the association always has been a good neighbor, and members of the board agreed.
“We have never had a single complaint about these folks,” Cardinal Sandiford, chairman of CB 12’s Land Use Committee, said prior to the vote.
Sandiford later made the motion that led to approval.
Pancari, architect Robert Papazian and CPA Vice President Ellen Traks said they own the site, which has become a target in recent years for illegal dumping.
“Recently we pulled 75 bags of trash and 50 to 75 tires out of there,” Traks said.
The new site, along with the existing one, will end up as a merger of three lots.
There will be a full-time staff, as well as nursing care personnel, as all the residents will have significant health issues.
Pancari said there would be about 15 full-time jobs created by the new center, and that many similar facilities throughout the city are staffed by people who live in the area.
He did say all applicants would have to go through CPA’s normal application and hiring procedures.
Pancari also said there will be a large driveway in order to allay residents’ concerns that staff would take up on-street parking.
Sandiford said there should be no difficulties with on-site or street parking.
Several organizations, including community boards in the borough, have stated that the city has made Queens, especially its lower-income areas, a dumping ground for group homes and other facilities.
Following the meeting, however, CB 12 Chairwoman Adrienne Adams said CPA’s plan was approved completely on merit.
“The city has taken great advantage of the neighborhoods in Community Board 12, particularly with the location of homeless shelters,” Adams said. “But that’s not the case here.”
She reiterated that CPA has been a good neighbor for two decades, and that the neighborhood is certain to benefit from the development of the property for productive use.
In other board business, Parks Committee Chairman Greg Mays said trees in Idlewild Park being targeted for removal have gotten at least a temporary reprieve from Borough President Helen Marshall.
Mays said Marshall’s office has asked the city Parks Department and the Port Authority for further details on why more than 300 trees are considered a hazard to aviation.
An additional 300 to 400 are at risk once the PA receives approval to relocate one of Kennedy Airport’s existing runways some 700 feet north of where it is now.