On Hunt For Asian Longhorned Beetle
The fight against a tree-destroying bug and a community’s opposition to street flow conversions highlighted Community Board 9′s Tuesday, Oct. 9 meeting at the Fairfield Pavilion in Richmond Hill.
Bobby Miller of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) detailed the agency’s ongoing fight against the Asian longhorned beetle, an invasive species that can destroy many species of trees that are found in the city.
According to Miller, the city has removed 6,000 trees which may be infected, but they are still looking for more trees in the Board 9 area, and to find the infected trees, “we need ac- cess to the backyards, so please, if you know of our legitimate presence, it would help with our access.”
He also warned that firewood could contain beetle larvae, which emerge in the summer as adult beetles.
The most recent spotting of the beetles in Board 9, he noted, came in 2005 at the Forest Park Golf Course. In the city, the beetles have not been seen in the city since 2011, when they were found in Brooklyn.
The USDA has 100 employees working on finding the beetles, so Miller requested residents’ help. Anyone who sees or suspects the presence of an Asian longhorned beetle should call a hotline at 1-866-265- 0301.
While the USDA cannot save infected trees, a soil-based treatment can prevent future infestations. Already infected trees must be removed.
Miller also noted that, according to USDA inspectors, one of every three large street trees in Richmond Hill have been “girdled,” or cut around the tree one to three feet above the ground in an apparent effort to prevent nutrients from spreading through the tree. Residents who see a girdled tree should call 311.
Street conversions opposed
Simcha Waisman of the Richmond Hill Block Association asked Board 9 to oppose the proposed conversion of 84th Avenue between Lefferts Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue-currently a two-way street-into a one-way eastbound road, claiming that it would turn the street into an “expressway.”
“If they don’t stop now for four stop signs, they will not stop forever” is the street flow is changed, he warned.
Local resident Mike Pascuzzi also warned that creating a one-way street would only “encourage drivers to continue to speed, because there will be no oncoming traffic to deal with.”
“The speeds now are immense,” added resident Laurence Levy, who claimed that the amount of cars on the street would increase dramatically, creating a “horrible burden on the residents.”
Board 9 would vote down this proposal, as well as another proposal to convert 97th Avenue between 97th and 98th streets to a one-way street.
In voting, Crawford noted that “what we need is an entire study of the area,”
‘Delay’ in carousel landmarking
“There has been a delay” in the landmarking of the Forest Park carousel, Kate Mooney of City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley’s office noted. The reason for the delay is unknown.
Mooney did note that the lawmaker is also pushing for the landmarking of St. Matthew’s Church in Woodhaven, and that plans for the renovation of the Woodhaven branch of the Queens library will soon be revealed.
Pols fight cellphone theft
Scott Wolf, representing Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, asked residents to watch their smartphones in the area of the Forest Park overlook, claiming that his wife was told by residents to put ber iPhone away when walking through the area.
“People should be very careful when pulling these devices out,” he warned, noting the increase in smartphone thefts citywide.
He also urged the 102nd Precinct to patrol the area on a more frequent basis, saying that “we really need some presence over there.”
Crawford added that “there are kids in the basketball area at all hours of the night” in Forest Park. “There is never a patrol car that comes through that area.”
“This is a gateway issue. If this is ignored, it’s going to get worse.”
Nick Roloson, representing Assemblyman Mike Miller, announced that the lawmaker has introduced a bill that would tie a person’s name to a unique identifying code called a Number Assignment Module currently in use by cell phone companies to identify phones.
By creating a database of names, Miller hopes to discourage cell phone theft.
P.O. Joseph Martins of the 102nd Precinct Community Affairs Unit noted that the command is investigating a hit-and-run collision between a car and a cyclist in the area on Sept. 25, as well as a recent fatal shooting in Richmond Hill.
He added that burglaries are increasing in the Ozone Park area, and urged residents to keep their windows closed and their smartphones out of sight.
District Manager Mary Ann Carey reported on a recent meeting of district managers across the city with members of the NYPD.
She noted that the amount of recruits in the academy decreased from 1,631 in July 2011 to 1,226 in July 2012; the projected enrollment for January 2013 is 808 recruits.
In addition, there are no additional IMPACT zones planned for Queens.
She also touched on “Operation Big Wheel,” a Queens-wide operation against trucks driving off their routes and parking in prohibited locations.
In an unusual occurrence, Board 9 would vote against the Public Safety Committee’s recommendation to object to the liquor license renewal for 97-07 Jamaica Ave. Tavern Corp. (d.b.a. McHugh’s), at 97-07 Jamaica Ave. in Woodhaven.
According to Public Safety Chairperson James Coccovillo, the committee cited noise complaints and a lack of proper paperwork as reasons to deny the license, but several board members cited the bar’s history in the community, and the bar’s new manager promised to come up with the proper paperwork.
After Board 9 voted against the committee’s recommendation, an argument ensured as to whether the vote registered as a de-facto “lack of objection” to the application (Board 9 does not vote to outright endorse license applications). It was determined that this was, in fact, the case.
Board 9 did not object to liquor license applications for A One Restaurant, at 101-01 101st Ave. in Ozone Park; Mahann Merchants Inc. (d.b.a. Stars Beer ‘n’ Big Bites), at 127-32 101st Ave. in Richmond Hill; Altiff Corp. (d.b.a. The Rush), at 107-12 101st Ave. in Ozone Park; and Best Seafood & BBQ Chicken Corp. (d.b.a. El Anzuelo Fino), at 98-01 Jamaica Ave. in Woodhaven.
However, they objected to licenses for Aggarwal Entertainment Inc. (d.b.a. Viva Lounge), at 89-25 1130th St. in Richmond Hill; and for Heping Group, at 93-08 101st Ave. in Ozone Park
A vote on a liquor license appli- cation for 829 Bar & Restaurant at 104-19 Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill was tabled until next month.
According to Public Safety Committee Chairperson James Coccovillo, Hermes Billiards & Cafe, at 102-14 Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill, had their liquor license approved despite Board 9’s objection.
Claiming that the site has had issues with noise and underage drinking, Coccovillo asked the board to send a letter to the State Liquor Authority asking the agency to explain its decision.
Board 9 approved its capital and expense budget items for the upcoming fiscal year.
The top five capital budget requests are:
– increased funding for installation of sidewalks and curbs;
– conducting site selection for new public schools due to what Board 9 claimed extreme overcrowding in Community School Districts 27 and 28;
– implementation of a Woodhaven traffic safety study and landscaping program
– funding of the rehabilitation of the Forest Park Greenhouse Playground, including upgradiong equipment, swings, slides and more; and
– the purchase of Department of Sanitation maintenance equipment;
The top five expene budget requests are;
– a return of the 102nd Precinct Mounted Unit to patrol Forest Park;
– funding of a Parks Enforcement Patrol Unit for Forest Park;
– a pruning contract for Forest Park;
– increased funding for Universal Pre-K Programs in all public elementary schools; and
– funding for a Beacon program at J.H.S. 210 , located at 93-11 101st Ave. in Ozone Park.
Board 9 endorsed a base station license renewal for Merengue Limo & Car Service, at 135-10 Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill, but did not endorse a renewal for the license of Triple D Car & Limo Service, at 110- 01 101st Ave. in Richmond Hill.
Jon Torodash, a Kew Gardens resident, announced the creation of a website dedicated to saving and repairing the Triumph of Civic Virtue statue that sits outside Queens Borough Hall.
He called the recent effort by the city to sell the statue to Greenwood Cemetery “deplorable,” adding that the statue is “arguably [Queens’] finest work of public art.”
Board 9 will next meet on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7:45 at the Royal Indian Palace, located at 118-06 Atlantic Ave. in Richmond Hill.