‘the City Does What It Wants’

CB 4 Nixes Traffic Plans By Proposed School

Queens Community Board 4 voted down a School Construction Authority (SCA) request for street changes near a site for a new Corona school at its Tuesday, Jan. 8 meeting at the Flanders Field VFW Post #150 in Corona, but members seemed resigned to the changes occuring with or without the body’s approval.

The School Construction Authority’s Monica Gutierrez asks Board 4 to consider changes in traffic to facilitate the construction of P.S. 315 in Corona. Standing behind plans for the site are the SCA’s Dean Johansen (left) and contractor Peter Chiodo.

P.S. 315, to be built at the site of a former chicken slaughterhouse at 98- 16 43rd Ave. in Corona, is currently under construction, with an estimated completion date of 2016.

To facilitate construction, SCA officials came before the board requesting the temporary street closure of 44th Avenue between 97th Place and Junction Boulevard and the conversion of 97th Place between 43rd and 44th avenues from a two way street into a one-way northbound street.

“For the safety of the public, we need to close this road,” the SCA’s Dean Johansen said, adding that the work would include crane work and demolition. “We feel the best way to ensure the safety of the public and to not incur any delays is to close this portion of road.”

He added that the SCA does not want to affect 43rd Avenue, as it is often used by fire, police and emergency services personnel. Board 4’s Al Berna expressed concern that construction vehicles would block traffic, but Johansen promised that the agency “would monitor the situation.”

SCA officials have spoken to owners of neighboring homes and businesses, according to Johansen. P.O. David Saponieri of the 110th Precinct, who was present at the meeting, indicated an interest in meeting with the contractor and SCA officials at the job site.

Several board members pointed out that Board 4 voted unanimously against the project in the first place, and expressed concern that the street closures would take place regardless of how the advisory body would vote.

Board 4’s Judy D’Andrea called the plan an “absolute disaster,” while Board member Anthony Moreno- who served as chairperson at the May, 10, 2011 meeting where the proposal was voted down-called the meeting “an exercise in futility, and that’s what annoys me the most.”

“We have no power; the city does what it wants and that’s that,” he stated.

Board 4 voted by a 14-10 tally to deny the SCA’s request for the street closures.

Public safety

In her report to Board 4, Public Safety Committee Chairperson Lucy Schilero announced that Exotic’s, a nightclub at 79-21 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, is being targeted for closure by the NYPD under a nuisance abatement proceeding.

Several establishments seeking liquor license renewals were denied endorsements by Board 4 upon Schilero’s recommendation.

La Morenita Ecuatoria Restaurant Corp., at 109-06 Corona Ave. in Corona, Tacos y Jugos Corp., at 78-04 Woodside Ave. in Elmhurst, Cavico Corp, at 40-32 National St. 40-32 National St. in Corona, Mexican Junction Restaurant Corp. at 96-06 Roosevelt Ave. in Corona and Tropicoso Bar & Grill No. 11 Corp. were all cited by Schilero for lack of paperwork, specifically certificates of occupancy. Some were also cited for selling alcohol to minors.

In addition, Loma Restaurant Corp. at 58-28 99th St. in Corona was denied a liquor license renewal endorsement due to repeated noise complaints. Schilero noted that this is the first license endorsement to be turned down by her committee due to noise issues.

“They’ve ignored us; they’ve ignored the community,” she told Board 4.

Parking change approved

Board 4 voted to approve a request by Jesse Tang and Melissa Cole of the Central Queens Academy, a charter school located at 55-30 Junction Blvd., to endorse an extension of a no-parking ordinance at Junction Boulevard and 56th avenue by two hours on school days.

Currently, the regulation does not allow parking from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days; according to Cole, the school dismisses its students between 4 and 5 p.m., and the change in the regulation creates traffic hazards.

An extension of the regulation to 6 p.m. every day, Cole claimed, would alleviate the situation.

Other news

Board 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol announced that the city’s Department of Homeless Services will be holding its annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) of homeless persons throughout the city from Monday, Jan. 28 at 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. the following day.

Cassagnol would later note that the U.S. Tennis Association is set to appear before Board 4 as early as February to discuss plans for an expansion of the tennis center at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

George Onourah of the Consumer Affairs Committee stated that 2013 will see the committee focus on conditions surrounding Corona Plaza, especially with the area’s street vendors.

Board 4 voted to rename the intersection of 51st Avenue and 108th Street in Corona in honor of former board member Anthony Caminiti. The board has originally planned to rename a nearby park in his honor but changed the plans to a street renaming due to his family’s wishes.

Board 4’s next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 12, will take place at Elmhurst Hospital Center, located at 79-01 Broadway in Elmhurst.

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