Seeking End to Flooding

Pols Tackle Issue; DEP Not At CB 6 Meet

As Forest Hills residents continue to be riled up over flooding woes from summer storms, Community Board 6 continued to search for answers at its Wednesday, Oct. 10 meeting at the Kew Gardens Community Center.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo speaks to Community Board 6 at its Wednesday, Oct. 10 meeting at the Kew Gardens Community Center.

Representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), who were scheduled to attend Board 6 and give an update on the agency’s moves to address flooding, called Board 6 to inform the board that they would not attend, Chairperson Joseph Hennessy stated.

The chairperson noted that “nobody was happy with the answers that were given” by DEP officials at a recent town hall meeting sponsored by City Council Member Karen Koslowitz, and added that his home had seven feet of flooding despite a recently completed $24 million upgrade of city sewers that he claimed the community had wanted for 17 years.

He urged residents to call the community board instead of 311 if they experience any flooding prob lems.

Addabbo would also remind the crowd to call his office at 1-718-497- 1630 if any catch basin seems to be clogged.

J.R. Nocerino, representing Koslowitz at the meeting, stated that the lawmaker had sent a letter to homeowners after the town hall telling constituents that “I am steadfast in my efforts to improve the situation.”

Her office is currently reviewing solutions and talking to DEP officials about measures that can be implemented, according to Nocerino.

“Karen will be all over this,” he assured the crowd.

Trouble on the court

Stephanie Lin and dozens of residents came to Board 6 asking the board to intervene in a battle against nearby Cobblestones Pub, at 117-18 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills.

According to Lin, the bar has recently installed a basketball court in the backyard, which has caused issues with noise, alcohol, property destruction and marijuana use. A followup email from Lin noted that patrons enter the court through a driveway on 78th Avenue between Kew Forest Lane and Queens Boulevard.

Basketball games have been played until midnight, she claimed, with some attracting over 40 spectators.

“It is like having an outdoor Madison Square Garden adjacent to our backyards,” she said.

When residents came to the bar’s owner to complain, Lim claimed that he was uncooperative.

Gulluscio noted that board members and members of the 112th Precinct meet with the bar’s owners in August to discuss the situation.

“By the letter of the law,” he noted, “he hasn’t done anything illegal.”

He added that he would talk to City Council Member Karen Koslowitz’s office to discuss the situation and facilitate a sitdown between the two parties if necessary.

“If he’s breaking the law, we’ll make sure he doesn’t break the law anymore,” Gulluscio stated.

An NYPD source told the Times Newsweekly that Cobblestones Pub was not a problem in the community before these complaints.

Peter Massaro, the owner of Cobblestones, told the Times Newsweekly in a Tuesday, Oct. 16 phone interview that “anything that has been said is unfounded.”

He added that there is no alcohol consumption on the court, claiming that alcohol and sports don’t mix.

“It’s something positive, it’s not a negative,” he stated.

Both Lin and Massaro told the paper that a future meeting between all parties is planned, but no date has been set.

Capital & expense budgets

Board 6 announced its capital and expense budget requests for the 2014 fiscal year.

The tope five capital budget items were:

– funding for an expansion of the Rego Park branch of the Queens Library;

– funding for catch basin cleaning and for upgrades to area sewers;

– funding for renovations to Lost Battalion Hall in Rego Park;

– funding for improvements to area parks; and

– funding for reconstruction of medians, cracked sidewalks and crosswalks.

The top five expense budget items were:

– funding for a Beacon program at J.H.S. 190;

– increased funding for area senior centers;

– recruitment of local precinct crossing guards and police officers;

– an increase in the number of Buildings Department inspectors; and

– increased Sanitation Department personnel.

Bringing him back to society

Representatives of Human First Inc. presented a proposal to use an apartment on Saunders Street in Rego Park as a facility to help a young man with a mental disability adjust to everyday life.

The resident will be monitored at all times, and transportation will be provided for him. The apartment is being leased for two years with an option to renew.

Under the law, the nature of his disability cannot be revealed.

Human First has five offices in the New York metro area, with the closest being in Astoria. They will be working under the guidance of the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.

Second Vice Chairperson Gail Gordon, who has met the resident, called him a “high functioning individual” without any issues of violence or otherwise improper behavior.

“He’s being transitioned toward independence, and to do that he needs support,” she explained, adding that his family lives nearby and will also offer support.

“He could be anybody’s neighbor,” she stated.

Board 6 approved the proposal.

Addabbo stops by

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo announced that his sixth recycling event, held Sept. 30 at Forest Park, resulted in the recycling of 28,000 pounds of electronics, 800 pounds of carpeting as well as paper and glasses.

He noted that he is talking to the Department of Sanitation on ways to recycle unused paint, and also seeking ways to safely dispose of prescription medication.

He also announced that on Friday, Oct. 19, the lawmaker is sponsoring a job fair at Resorts World New York in South Ozone Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Licenses & other news

Board 6 approved renewals of liquor licenses for four Forest Hills eateries: Baluchi’s, at 113-30 Queens Blvd.; Star of Siam, at 103-18 Metropolitan Ave.; La Vigna, at 100-11 Metropolitan Ave.; and Garcia’s Restaurant, at 70-09 Austin St.

Capt. Thomas Conforti, the commanding officer of the 112th Precinct, quickly introduced himself to the crowd.

“I am a neighborhood guy; I grew up in this neighborhood,” he told the crowd.

Lynn Schulman, who heads Board 6’s Education Committee and also sits on the District 30 Community Education Council, noted that there was a proposal in the works to truncate P.S. 174 in Forest Hills by no longer holding sixth grade classes.

Hennessy announced that representatives of both sides of the debate over the Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road-those seeking to have it reactivated as a rail line and those looking to turn it into an elevated park-will appear at Board 6’s Nov. 14 meeting at the Kew Gardens Community Center. No vote will be taken at the meeting.

Community Board 6 usually meets on the second Wednesday of every month at the Kew Gardens Community Center, located at 80-02 Kew Gardens Rd.

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