Composting on the Way

Parts Of Board 5 Area Added To City Pgm.

Recycling food waste was a hot topic at the Community Board 5 meeting last Wednesday, Jan. 8, in Middle Village, as a ranking Sanitation Department official outlined the voluntary organic composting program set to arrive in the area later this year.

Members of the Queens Public Transit Committee (top photo) came to Community Board 5’s meeting last Wednesday, Jan. 8, and thanked the advisory body for supporting efforts to bring train service back to the defunct Rockaway Beach branch of the Long Island Rail Road. Deputy Commissioner Ron Gonen and Hailey Rogers of the Sanitation Department (at right) stand before one of the free receptacles the agency will give to local homeowners participating in the DSNY’s Organic Composting Program.

Deputy Commissioner Ron Gonen displayed one of the free, brown plastic containers to be provided to homeowners participating in the DSNY Organic Composting Program, in which food scraps, plant material and soiled paper is separated from traditional trash and collected alongside other recyclable materials.

The initiative started as a pilot program in Brooklyn and Staten Island and is scheduled to make its debut in Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village this April and May, according to a press release issued by the Sanitation Department on Monday, Jan. 13.

Gonen explained last Wednesday the program benefits both the environment and the city’s bottom line, as it would help trim the Sanitation Department’s annual cost to export garbage, which runs at about $336 million each year. Approximately $85 million of that cost is spent on hauling out organic waste.

Additionally, with the Sanitation Department now accepting all kinds of plastic along with glass, paper and metal for standard recycling, “if you participate, you should have very little refuse to put out,” Gonen added.

Single-family homes will receive free organic waste receptacles ranging in size from 13 to 21 gallons. Residents living in buildings of up to nine units will reportedly also be provided with smaller recycling containers to be placed in kitchens.

Before the bins are distributed, the Sanitation Department will notify local residents, elected officials and community boards through a variety of ways, including mailings and statements in local newspapers, the deputy commissioner added.

Gonen stated residents may opt to dump their organic waste directly into the cans or place within the bins clear plastic liners (brown paper bags or biodegradable liners, however, are preferred by the department, as they may be recycled with the waste). Any bin that is lost, broken or stolen will be replaced by the Sanitation Department.

The Sanitation Department will collect organic waste on the same day as recyclable materials are collected each week. The organic waste will then be either recycled into compost for use at city gardens and parks or transformed into clean natural gas, the deputy commissioner added.

Board members expressed some reservations about the program. Chairperson Vincent Arcuri stated many multi-family homes are owned by absentee landlords who may not be willing to participate in the program.

Gonen stated the Sanitation Department, once it distributes the organic waste receptacles, will monitor the area to survey usage and participation. Any unused bins left out by property owners will be collected by the agency for use elsewhere.

Manny Caruana asked where the compost and natural gas created through the recycling of organic waste would be produced. Goren stated much of the waste collected in Queens would be shipped out by rail or barge to a composting facility located upstated.

Organic waste collected in Brooklyn and Staten Island has been processed at the city’s composting facility on Staten Island or through an anaerobic digester located at the Newtown Creek Water Treatment Plant, which converts the waste into natural gas.

Thanks for rail line support

A contingent of members of the Queens Public Transit Committee came to thank Board 5 for offering its support of the revitalization of the Rockaway Beach branch of the Long Island Rail Road as a public transit line.

Phil McManus, Mike Scala and Ron Carroll stated train service on the former line-which was last operated in 1962-is essential to easing the daily commutes for residents living in the Rockaways and southern Queens. They added that Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards are regularly congested with vehicular traffic, and passengers often crowd onto the Q52 and Q53 limited bus lines which serve the peninsula.

As the committee advocates for restoring rail service to the Rockaway Beach branch, another organization-the Friends of the QueensWay-is campaigning for the transforming the former line into a linear park and bike path. Carroll stated the committee is willing to accept elements of the QueensWay concept into its vision for the Rockaway Beach line, but maintained that bringing some semblance of rail service to it is a necessity.

“However it can be done, it must be done,” Carroll said. “We’re willing to cooperate with QueensWay, but they’ve offered no compromise to us.”

Other news

Two local residents-Barbara Peluso and Dawn Scala-asked the board for an update regarding efforts to block the opening of a homeless shelter for up to 125 families at a former industrial site on Cooper Avenue in Glendale.

Peluso, in particular, expressed outrage over the plan and charged that the community needs to take its case directly to City Hall.

Arcuri stated that several board members, as well as District Manager Gary Giordano, attended and/or testified at the Department of Homeless Services’ public hearing on the Glendale shelter last month. The speakers opposed to the shelter made a case that was, in his view, “very technical, proper and accurate.”

“The only speaker in favor of the plan was the representative of Samaritan Village,” Arcuri said. Though he offered no further updates on the proposal, he stated that “several board committees are studying each aspect of the shelter.”

Following the meeting, Arcuri announced the formation of a special committee to study the Glendale shelter plan. For additional information, see the story on Page 3.

Alex Maureau, a representative of State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, stated the legislator received notice from the State Liquor Authority (SLA) that it had “as of Dec. 20,” 2013 yet to receive a liquor license application for the Knockdown Center on Flushing Avenue in Maspeth. Addabbo and other lawmakers have expressed concerns to the SLA over granting a license to the arts venue, which has the capacity to serve thousands of people at a given time.

The senator is continuing to monitor the situation, Maureau added.

District Manager Giordano looked back on 2013 as a productive year for the district, noting the area saw the completion of renovations at the perimeter of the Ridgewood Reservoir and at the Cooper Avenue underpass.

Looking forward, Giordano stated the Parks Department is scheduled to soon install a new synthetic turf field within the running track at Juniper Valley Park’s Brennan Field.

Demolition notice

Arcuri announced the board received a demolition notice for a property located at 58-75 Grand Ave. in Maspeth. Board members were advised to keep an eye on construction at the site and to report any questionable activities observed.

Liquor licenses

The following liquor license applications have also been received by the board for its perusal:

– New liquor licenses for Maurizio Troia for a business to be determined, located at 69-61 Juniper Blvd. South in Middle Village (currently La Bella Cucina restaurant); and 861 La Rubia Restaurant Corp., located at 861 Wyckoff Ave. in Ridgewood (formerly La Morena restaurant).

– Liquor license renewals for 5103 Building Corp., d.b.a. the Msgr. Sherman Knights of Columbus Council 5103, located at 79-03 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale (the license name will be under Louis J. Franchino); Zum Stammtisch Inc., located at 69-46 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale; and Haspel Staab VFW Post 551, located at 84-02 60th Ave. in Middle Village.

– A wine and/or beer license renewal for Spolem LLC, located at 66-30 Fresh Pond Rd. in Ridgewood.

The board was also informed that Tendo Two Inc., located at 66-26 Fresh Pond Rd. in Ridgewood, will now operate as Tendo Sushi Inc, under the ownership of Xing Bo Zhang.

Those who wish to comment on the any of the applications may do so by calling Board 5 at the number listed at the end of this article.

The next Community Board 5 meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King Regional High School, located at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village. For more information, call the board’s Glendale office at 1-718-366- 1834.

More from Around New York