As proponents for turning an abandoned Glendale warehouse into a homeless shelter try to move that plan forward, the Middle Village Property Owners and Residents Association (MVPORA) vows to continue to fight against it.
Samaritan Village, the company proposing to build the shelter, still has not conducted an environmental impact study for the former factory at 78-16 Cooper Ave., according to Sal Crifasi, president of both the MVPORA and the Glendale/Middle Village Coalition. The coalition consists of residents, businesspersons and community leaders dedicated to opposing the shelter primarily through legal action.
At the MVPORA meeting on Tuesday, Crifasi said an impact study would require Samaritan Village to research how putting a homeless shelter in the area would affect the schools, the sewage system, the traffic and the environment of the neighborhood.
“Because of our input, we stalled it almost a year already,” Crifasi said. “They were supposed go in there last year already, I mean, open and operating, but because of us making a little noise about this, they are having problems.”
There have also been some changes made to the shelter’s plans due to the location of the site.
Crifasi explained that the site is located in an “M zone,” which only allows for the construction of manufacturing buildings.
“For an M zone, you’re only allowed to put manufacturing, but you could put a hotel,” Crifasi said. “So what they did is, instead of 125 [units] they changed the plans and made it now a 70-room hotel. They’re allowed to put a hotel by code.”
The controversy over whether it will be an actual hotel or a place to warehouse the homeless is not deterring MVPORA from continuing their fight.
“We’re fighting it and I feel comfortable and confident that we are going to win,” Crifasi said. “We’re going to win one way or another.”
Due to the overcrowded schools in the district, Crifasi suggested that Queens is in need of three high schools. The shelter site, he and others claim, would be more suitable for redevelopment as a public school.
“Now we’re trying to see if we can get a high school there, because if they’re saying that [the site is] good enough for people to live there, then maybe it’s good enough for kids to go there.”
“We’re fighting,” Crifasi assured those in attendance. “We’re not putting up the white flag yet.”