On Tuesday, October 12, Community Board 14 (CB14) held its monthly meeting via WebEx. The agenda included continuing Committee Reports from the September CB14 meeting, a presentation brought by NYC Dept. of Design and Construction, and Committee Reports from the Budget and Transportation Committees.
The meeting began with a report from the Parks and Public Safety Committee, which was presented by Jose Velez. Velez gave an update regarding the Army Corps of Engineers’ Contract 2 with the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency and Recovery. The goal of the project is to create effective barriers and replenish sand in order to avoid erosion. This project will reinforce dunes by creating approximately 101 ADA crossovers, which will include elevated compliant ramps. A majority of the ADA crossover ramps will be molded ramps intended to make it easier for pedestrians to walk over the dunes. There will be a total of eleven vehicular access points from these ramps, and four of these access points coincide with pedestrian access points to the beach. This project is expected to begin in November. Overall, the board agreed with this project, but concerns were raised regarding the large ADA crossover ramps in the area of Belle Harbor and Neponsit. Some at the meeting suggested these large structures would wind up in the water like the ramp on Beach 92nd Street. Some members requested that the number of ramps be reduced from the proposed four to two. After heavy discussion, a motion was passed by the board that there should only be two ADA crossover ramps installed: one on Beach 142nd and one on Beach 131st. These crossover ramps will be connected in the middle with mats by the baffle wall. No vehicles are permitted to use the mats, meaning these mats are only for pedestrians, wheelchairs, and all other disability vehicles.
Betty Leon followed Velez’s report with an update from the By-Laws Membership Committee’s last meeting which was held in June. Leon stated that there has been a By-Law revision in efforts to unify all the By-Laws in Queens. Among some of the proposed changes included additions to the Executive Board, in order to encourage more involvement from community members. Another proposed revision was that members of the public who are not a part of the Community Board will be permitted to be a part of a Committee. Overall, the majority of the proposed revisions included an emphasis on technology and maintaining a social media presence. Live streaming of meetings and posting meeting agendas regularly on community board websites were two of the provisions that must be implemented as soon as possible.
Next, District Manager, Jonathan Gaska, stated that Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers wrote a letter to Steve Banks of the Dept. of Social Services regarding the homeless shelter at La Quinta. The last week of September, all of the families residing in La Quinta Homeless Shelter were moved out and single men began to fill the beds. In response, Brooks-Powers’ letter included that while the community recognizes the city’s resources are critical and scarce, these resources must be distributed equally throughout the city. She stated that it is unacceptable that the Dept. of Social Services continues to make decisions that impact our communities and requested an immediate cease of La Quinta Homeless Shelter.
The meeting continued with an informational presentation by NYC Dept. of Design and Construction regarding the new firehouse at 116-11 Beach Channel Drive. A member of the architectural design team, Joan Krevlin, presented on the design and current size of the site. This project would transition the former HSBC bank and now FDNY training center on Beach 116th and Beach Channel Drive to the new firehouse utilized by Engine 268/Ladder 137. This site would allow for additional exit and entry ways for fire trucks, rather than having to back in. The building will be a brown-red brick, referencing the existing firehouse on Beach 116th. There will be a training room, as well as a stress reduction room for the firefighters to exercise. It is the intention of the architectural design team to install a green roof, but they cannot guarantee that until they receive the city’s funding. In efforts to make this building a community asset, there will be low maintenance, resilient plants and flowers outside and around the building. The new firehouse has been in discussion for a few years. CB14 originally disapproved with the plan for the location, but this was overridden during the ULURP process in 2017. However on Tuesday,, the board overwhelmingly agreed that this was a great asset for the peninsula and a new firehouse is needed. A motion supporting the plan as presented carried with a total of 26 in favor. The city hopes to break ground on the firehouse next year with completion in 2024.
Following the informational presentation, Gerald David presented on behalf of the Budget Committee. He made a motion stating that CB14 add an addition to the FY 2023 Capital and Expense Priority List. This addition would include allotting money to make improvements to the storm sewage system on Beach 36th, 37th, and 38th. This would be the 21st item on the Expense and Priority List. The motion carried. Lastly, David made another motion for the board to accept the latest budget that was submitted to the October meeting. The motion carried, and the budget was approved.
Due to time constraints, the last item on the agenda, a Committee Report from the Transportation Committee, did not go forward. This item will be discussed at the November CB14 meeting.
By Marina Cregan
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