A group of Fresh Meadows activists continue to work against a developer’s plans to bring a large daycare center to the area.
About three years ago, two residences at 172nd Street and 67th Avenue were purchased and knocked down, making way for the proposed Great Sunshine Daycare Center. The new building is being constructed as-of-right, according to the existing zoning laws for the site.
In September, residents Mike Agnello and Bill Anello spoke with QNS about their concerns. The pair, who have been organizing efforts against the proposed project for a few years now, raised anxieties about potential safety, health and traffic issues.
At a Nov. 3 press conference, Anello, who has since helped organize the Flushing Heights Civic Association, again raised concerns. The building will reportedly serve 285 kids, some infants, but plans to do so partially in a basement area. Anello questioned the safety of such an arrangement.
“God forbid there is a fire: how will they get these infants out?” resident Tomi Anello said. “They only have two staircases and an elevator. There are not doing what is good for the children. It’s legal, but unethical.”
Resident Robert Savetsky said that traffic in the area is already “complete gridlock” due to morning and afternoon traffic from P.S. 173, which is one block away from the proposed daycare.
“I have had a couple of near accidents from cars coming down the wrong way to avoid school traffic,” he said.
State Senator Tony Avella, who organized the November press conference and consulted with Anello on the topic in the past, said the Department of Buildings was looking at the project “with blinders on.”
“While this project may look fine on paper, it will cause surrounding property values to plummet and negatively affect many quality-of-life issues,” the lawmaker said. “Nobody knows their neighborhood better than the people who live there, and I believe the Department of Buildings needs to take action before creating a nightmare these residents cannot wake up from.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Buildings said a new building permit for the project was initially issued on Feb. 3, 2016.
“Following a further audit of the project, DOB issued a notice to revoke the permit for this project on Nov. 1, 2017,” the spokesperson said. “This notice to revoke the permits was issues due to issues with their planned placement of a driveway and a rooftop recreation area.”
In order to proceed with the project, the spokesperson continued, the developers must submit revisions to their current plans “that satisfy the Department’s objections to these issues.”