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New group formed to fight proposed Glendale homeless shelter

Photo by Jeff Stone

The fight goes on.

A new group named the Glendale/Middle Village Coalition has formed to combat the proposed homeless shelter site on Cooper Avenue.

“Instead of everyone doing little things on their own [to combat the site] we will form one group to make a stronger argument,” said Salvatore Crifasi, co-founder of the coalition.

The group was formed just a couple of weeks ago. Its main argument is that the site will serve better as a school campus than a homeless shelter for the most overcrowded school district in the city, Crifasi said.

They also believe the city did not properly assess the site as a homeless shelter for its impact on the environment and have hired a lawyer to help them in their argument.

Whenever a government agency proposes a project they must go through State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR), which requires an environmental impact assessment.  A “negative declaration” is given to a site, such as the one on Cooper Avenue, when it is determined that whatever is proposed for it would not have a significant impact on the environment.

“The negative declaration that was issued for the site does not accurately depict what the homeless shelter would do,” said Chris Murray, the attorney hired by the coalition. “The city was just trying to rush this thing through.”

The coalition is still trying to raise enough funds for the legal fees in order to bring this case to the state Supreme Court. The negative impact statement was issued on June 12 and by law there is a four-month window to file a legal challenge, Murray said. This gives the coalition about a month to raise money for their lawyer to bring a case.

“There are other alternatives that we feel will have a better impact [on the community],” Crifasi said. “We are trying to raise enough money [for legal fees] and find a better solution for the site.”

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