Here we go again.
The Indian Cultural and Community Center has revamped plans for building senior housing on the campus of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. The project has been embroiled in controversy since it was first proposed. Now that the group wants to add an extra 17 apartments to the mix has civic leaders and at least one elected official furious.
“The ICCC continues to amaze me,” state Sen Tony Avella (D-Bayside) told the Chronicle Wednesday. “There are two open investigations. The community and elected officials are dead set against this plan, so why the ICCC continues to pursue this is beyond me.”
The ICCC owns approximately 4.5 acres at Creedmoor, located at 79-25 Winchester Blvd., in Queens Village and wants to build a community center and senior housing. Originally they were seeking to construct two nine-story buildings, with 126 apartments. Now it’s asking to place 143 apartments into the same size towers.
Jordan Most, the zoning lawyer for the ICCC, said the new plan “fits the mode of senior affordable housing better.”
Both the state attorney general and inspector general are investigating the deal to determine if there was any inappropriate or criminal behavior on the part of the group and both current and former elected officials.
“Even if the investigation doesn’t find anything, the ICCC has been unethical throughout this process,” Avella said. They’ve lied to the community several times. They’ve changed their plan three or four times. Now, they’ve changed it again. ... The project will move ahead over my dead body.”
The ICCC has also recently petitioned the Board of Standards and Appeals for a waiver because the project does not have frontage on a mapped city street.
“They’ve reconfigured the buildings a little bit, taking into consideration some needs of the Fire Department, the need for emergency vehicles,” Richard Hellenbrecht, chairman of CB 13’s Land Use Committee, said at the body’s Monday night meeting in Rosedale.
He added that the ICCC also appears to be waiving the right to use an easement near the Bernard Fineson Center, which would exit onto 82nd Avenue and was granted to the group in its deed. Most denied the claim and said that the ICCC plans to use the easement as well as the Creedmoor street grid, which it was also granted access to in its deed.
The idea of using the emergency access point was slammed by CB 13 when it was first proposed back in May, due to safety concerns. Fineson provides housing for adults with disabilities and often has heavily medicated patients who wander the property.
“I think we need some really serious clarity as to what their plans are to bring vehicles in and out of the property,” Hellenbrecht said. “Are they planning just to use the Hillside Avenue and Winchester Boulevard entrances and the street grid within Creedmoor? We certainly need more information about how Creedmoor’s internal street grid is going to be maintained in the foreseeable future.”
The amount of extra vehicles on the campus as a result of the additional apartments and how that will effect traffic congestion in the area also need to be taken into consideration, Hellenbrecht said.
“This population has a much lower auto usage and will not have a significant impact on traffic,” Most said.
Several CB 13 board members, all of whom are against the project, believe the entire body should not weigh in on the ICCC’s evolving proposals until the state investigations are completed.