After listening to opposition from seven residents of one Little Neck block, members of Community Board 11 (CB 11) recommended denial on Wednesday night of a proposed group home for mentally disabled adults.
The vote came following a public hearing at M.S. 158 in Bayside on the proposed Community Options group home at 55-35 260th St. The nationwide organization that serves people with disabilities is looking to move four men with severe mental disabilities into the home. They are being forced out of their current living situation and must move by March 2017.
But residents who live on the block said the home and the location — the easternmost street in New York City — is not the right one.
Vincent Ng said the block, which runs between the Long Island Expressway and Nassau Boulevard at the border with Nassau County, is already home to two nursing homes — the Brandywine Senior Living and Little Neck Care facilities — and residents must regularly deal with constant ambulance visits and staff parking.
“We cannot handle another one,” Ng said. “Parking is already at a premium.”
Some residents decided to take aim at the organization itself, claiming that the group’s CEO takes home a six-figure salary. Others, like Razmik Nenejian, who lives next to the proposed group home site, said they didn’t have an issue with what the home would be used for, but felt the block was being “too commercialized.”
“This is not a good location for them,” he said.
Another resident accused Community Option of not doing their due diligence when researching the home.
“I don’t think you fully considered finding something safe for [the residents],” she said.
Board members quarreled a bit on how they should, or could, vote. Zion Halili, co-chairman of the Group Home/Community Facilities Committee, seem to tell board members they could only vote no if the surrounding neighborhood was too saturated with group homes or if they could suggest another location.
When several board members took issue with his explanation, CB 11 Chairwoman Christine Haider stood up and said Halili was wrong and the board could vote no if they wish, though it was merely an advisory vote.
With only two yes votes and two members abstaining, the board overwhelmingly voted no, but their negative vote came with a message to the New York State Office of Mental Health — that their opposition is entirely due to the location, not the home’s services, and they should look for a better site.