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Queens Chronicle

Congestion disaster coming to Bellerose?

Civics say building at Little Neck Pkwy. and Jericho Tpke. will worsen traffic

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Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2017 10:30 am

Richard Hellenbrecht loves Bellerose. And he warns a four-story building going up at Jericho Turnpike and Little Neck Parkway could be a nightmare for drivers in the neighborhood.

“We were asking for the [Department of Transportation] to do a study or at least a review on it,” Hellenbrecht, the executive vice president of the Queens Civic Congress, told the Chronicle. “Because that particular point on Little Neck Parkway is very busy.”

According to a DOT spokesperson, the agency did not analyze the intersection — which has a traffic light — for the impacts of the development.

The Bellerose resident, who is a member of Community Board 13, is also concerned about what the future of the community facility planned at the site will be.

“The big question is, will they maintain the community facility?” he added. “Even if they start with the community facility, will they maintain it or replace it with regular offices?”

Seventy-eight parking spots are planned, according to the website of AB Capstone, the site’s developer.

Hellenbrecht said the firm developing the property has repeatedly ignored requests from CB 13 to meet with board members. However, he said that the board’s Land Use Committee did speak with the real estate broker for the site.

The developer, the Bellerose activist said, is “not that forthcoming to talk to us.”

But Meir Babaev, a managing partner and the head of investments at AB Capstone, said that the firm has not declined requests to speak with the community board to discuss the development.

"On the contrary we typically meet will all neighbors and BID groups and community boards when requested to do so on any project, including meeting with all the current neighbors of this particular development," he said in an emailed statement. " We are constantly and consistently keeping all the neighbors in the loop regarding the project."

Like Hellenbrecht, Queens Colony Civic Association President Angela Augugliaro is deeply concerned about the potential congestion.

“The traffic up there is going to be a disaster,” she said. “During rush hour, Jericho Turnpike backs up from Little Neck Parkway all the way down through Floral Park ... Add these other cars at the same time and it’s going to be chaos. Something needs to be re-examined; they need to do some kind of evaluation.”

Augugliaro did not always dislike the building plan. “Originally the developers said it was going to be a two-story medical day care facility,” she said. The design in motion now, she said, is for a “four-story monstrosity.”

The building has racked up $4,800 in Environmental Control Board violations, according to a Department of Buildings spokesperson. The penalties were for failing to provide the necessary paperwork for concrete testing, not providing a watertight container for the concrete washout while construction was happening and not providing the DOB with technical reports about the concrete work.

“Regrettably, this is being done according to zoning and it is as of right, so we can’t stop it,” Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) said. “But we are monitoring the construction, as are the local community civic groups.”

One hundred and forty indoor parking spots and 30 outdoor ones are planned.

Bellerose activist Virginia Salow says that the ingress and egress for the parking lot will be a serious problem.

“It’s going to create a bottleneck and traffic nightmare,” she said. Salow added that, given the crossroad’s closeness to the Bellerose Commons commercial area, the DOT should have analyzed the potential traffic impact of the building.

“Maybe we have to have a demonstration in front of that place when the traffic gets tied up,” Salow said. 

UPDATE:

This story has been updated to include a comment from AB Capstone.

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1 comment:

  • mediawatcher posted at 4:01 pm on Thu, Jun 29, 2017.

    mediawatcher Posts: 19

    Nonsensical neighborhood NIMBY naysayer noise.