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Queens Chronicle

ICCC shrinks towers; CB 13 unimpressed

New plan submitted to the BSA calls for six stories instead of nine

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Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 12:34 pm, Thu Mar 6, 2014.

Not far enough.

That was the message sent this week by members of Community Board 13 in response to the Indian Cultural and Community Center proposing to cut three stories from a pair of senior apartment buildings on the grounds of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Bellerose.

Speaking Monday night at CB 13’s monthly meeting, Board Executive Secretary Jerry Wind said the ICCC reduced its request from nine floors to six in paperwork submitted about three weeks ago to the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals.

The nine-story towers have been flatly rejected by CB 13 at every turn.

The plan for six fared no better Monday night. Upon learning that the BSA was holding a hearing in Manhattan on Tuesday morning, Board members Jim Delaney and Corey Bearak convinced the board to take another vote.

“They’re still towers,” Bearak said.

The results of Monday’s vote and a letter of opposition were presented to the BSA on Tuesday by Wind and District Manager Lawrence McClean.

Wind, speaking both at Monday’s meeting and in a telephone interview on Tuesday, reiterated his belief that the ICCC plans are not compatible with the homes in the surrounding neighborhood, mostly one- and two-family structures of between one and three stories.

“They originally told us they wanted athletic fields, a community center and a parking lot,” Wind said. “They say we are against senior housing. We’re not. But [zoning] limits structures to 35 feet. We have Glen Oaks and other developments — all of them comply.”

He also said that even at six stories, the buildings, with balconies and recreational facilities planned for the roof areas, would result in a great loss of privacy for residents such as those on 242nd Street.

“For some of them those buildings would be 35 feet away,” he said. The Chronicle was unable to reach attorneys for the ICCC for comment. Wind said the BSA is scheduled to take up the matter again on May 20.

CB 13 is not the only entity that has had problems with the ICCC’s handling of the acquisition and planning process.

Back in September, the state Inspector General’s Office offered a blistering critique of both actions taken by the ICCC and inaction on the part of the New York State Dormitory Authority, which negotiated the sale of 4.5 acres from the Creedmoor site.

The office of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also is believed to be investigating the transaction.

The transaction has come under fire from state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who was known to be at loggerheads with Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village), who supported the sale. So did former state Sen. Frank Padavan and former Assemblyman and current Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens).

The property has been redistricted out of Avella’s jurisdiction and now is in Sen. Malcolm Smith’s (D-Hollis) district. Smith spokeswoman AnnMarie Costella said he would be studying the new proposal and consulting with Clark. The assemblywoman could not be reached for comment.

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