Photo by Jenna Bagcal, inset courtesy of Cord Meyers
Douglaston residents oppose a proposal for a 15-story senior assisted living facility

Last Monday, Douglaston residents came in droves to the monthly Community Board 11 meeting to express opposition to a proposed 15-story senior living facility.

In May, developer David Marx’s attorney Eric Palatnik presented the proposal for the facility at 242-22 61st Ave. to Deepdale Gardens and Beech Hills shareholders. According to the plan Palatnik presented, the facility would be located between the Douglaston Shopping Center and the Douglaston Golf Course.

Marx proposed a zoning height authorization to the Douglaston Zoning Committee. The variance would make it possible to build a 15-story building as opposed to a maximum of four stories as the current zoning allows.

The Proposed Development, although taller than buildings in the surrounding area, is appropriate at this site given its isolated, elevated location and would not impair the essential character of the neighborhood or cast shadows on neighboring residences that would diminish their quality of life. The Proposed Development would provide a quality assisted living facility for seniors, a vulnerable and underserved population throughout New York City,” wrote Palatnik in the written proposal. 

Residents strongly opposed the proposal, charging that the New York State Department of Health facility would have adverse effects on the surrounding area and residents.

“The proposed height would greatly change the character of our neighborhood,” said Mindy Stein, a member of the Beech Hills Board of Directors.

Stein added that the 15-story building would “block the sun and air, create traffic and noise pollution throughout the environment, cause health issues and would threaten our quality of life.”

The complex would be comprised of two buildings: the 164-foot, 200 bed facility and a 45-foot building that would house geriatric medical office space. The plan also include 180 parking spaces in a multi-tiered parking garage.

Others like Beech Hills Co-Op Board President Janice Schreibersdorf said that the seniors in the community would not be willing to pay the exorbitant prices to live in the proposed facility.

“The seniors in our community are not spending five, seven, eight, nine thousand dollars a month for assisted living,” Schreibersdorf said. “The seniors that live in Beech Hills and Deepdale and I would venture to say the entire surrounding area, are either low income or middle income.”

Joann Paradiso said the quiet area and beautiful surrounding views are what pushed her to purchase a Beech Hills co-op less than one year ago.

“Working in the long-term care industry, I’m quite familiar with the 24/7, 365-day cycle that occurs with such facilities. That include constant deliveries, emergency admissions and discharges of patients by ambulances, family visits and large amounts of employees that are needed to run such important establishments.”

She added that if the proposal goes through, it will set an unwanted precedence for developers to build similar sized buildings in the area.

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