By Joe Anuta
College Point community leaders are furious the NYPD quietly set up a tow yard without the neighborhood’s knowledge.
The makeshift car repository is on the corner of 31st Avenue and College Point Boulevard in the parking lot of a new, vacant two-story building owned by a printing company, according to Community Board 7 and city property records.
“We are very mad about it,” fumed CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty, who said the board only found out about the towing operation after residents saw the NYPD trucks in the area.
“We don’t want them. I don’t care what we have to do. I’ve have enough of the Police Department,” he said, referring specifically to the portion of the NYPD that selects and manages facilities.
The intersection is in the College Point Corporate Park and directly across from the nearly completed $656 million College Point Police Academy, which will train more than 3,000 recruits a year. It also shares 31st Avenue with the North Shore Marine Transfer Station, where garbage trucks trolling a large swath of northeast Queens will converge to dump their cargo and have the refuse floated away by barge.
The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment by press time, but state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said in a statement that the community should have been notified because of the added traffic burden.
“College Point residents have to deal with a lot of quality-of-life issues that emanate directly from the College Point Corporate Park, including significant traffic congestion,” he said. “That is why it is simply unacceptable for this NYPD tow pound, which will have a profound effect on traffic in the area, to move into the corporate park without the community’s prior knowledge and approval.”
In addition, Avella noted the NYPD may be operating the tow yard without going through the proper land-use procedures.
The new pound is a replacement for one the department lost in Brooklyn.
That lot happened to be in the footprint of a planned replacement to the Kosciuszko Bridge that will span Newtown Creek, according to the state Department of Transportation, which is handling the project.
Police representatives told the board the move was temporary, but members questioned why the NYPD could not store the cars on a portion of the Police Academy site that is not slated for development, since that site previously housed an NYPD tow lot.
A representative of the printing company that owns the lot, Ares Group, did not respond to a request for comment, but according to the city Economic Development Corp., which manages the corporate park, the company is poised to move its operations from Brooklyn to the vacant building, but the timing of the move was unclear.
EDC said they no longer have any jurisdiction over the site, and only collect fees from Ares to fund general maintenance in the corporate park.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.