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Local News July 16, 2009  RSS feed


Also Looks To Save City Tap Water
by Sam Goldman

A jam-packed Community Board 5 meeting, held July 8 at Christ The King Regional High School, saw the body examine work at local parks, a plan to thwart upstate drilling and the proposal for a new waste transfer facility in West Maspeth.

'Hydro-fracking' panned

Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri delivered the Environmental Committee's report on a plan to allow a controversial process to extract natural gas from areas near the New York City watershed.

The process, called hydro-fracturing (and commonly shortened to "hydro-fracking"), consists of pushing pressurized water, often mixed with chemicals, deep into the marcellus shale that makes up the bedrock of the counties upstate.

The shale would then crack, releasing the gas to the surface for easy extraction.

The fear, as stated by Buck and Mav Morehead of NYH20, is that the chemically treated water would find its way into the upstate reservoirs that provide New York City with its tap water supply, which is widely considered among the country's cleanest.

According to Buck Morehead, developers are looking to exploit "the largest natural gas field in the country ... 100 miles" north of the city.

"This is a very significant risk," he added.

According to Arcuri, reporting on behalf of Committee Chairperson Brian Dooley, a resolution that would call for a ban on the procedure in the counties the cover the city watershed area was passed along at the most recent meeting of the Queens Borough Board, and met with unanimous approval.

Arcuri explained that a resolution that would ban drilling throughout the state would not work, as "we have no standing in court" if such a resolution was advanced.

The resolution, which was adopted unanimously by Board 5, supports the proposal advanced by City Council Member James Gennaro.

Review Avenue proposal

Sanitation Committee Chairperson Paul Kerzner delivered his committee's recommendation on the proposal by Waste Management to construct a new transfer facility on Review Avenue in West Maspeth.

Under the proposal, Department of Sanitation waste would be trucked to the facility and loaded onto railready containers, which would then be transported to the railroad tracks at Rust Street and Maspeth Avenue.

There, the containers would be loaded onto rail cars and transported to the Fresh Pond Railyard, and from there, moved out of the state.

At a meeting earlier this month, Kerzner stated that Board 5 has "significant opposition" to the plan, with residents worrying that it would result in additional tractor-trailers in Maspeth.

The recommendation outlines three alternate options:

• the construction of a rail spur at the Review Avenue facility, allowing the containers to go directly to rail without being trucked through Maspeth, allowing Waste Management to "shift and containerize the garbage at the Review Avenue facility only and have it seamlessly shipped to the Fresh Pond Yard;"

• the acquisition of an alternate location, such as the old Phelps Dodge site (which already has a rail spur) or a similar site with rail access;

• the construction of a barging facility at the Review Avenue site that would allow for the containers to be transported by sea.

Board member Robert Holden, who has led the opposition to the proposal, said that "this whole plan, pardon the pun, stinks."

He claimed that Waste Management's

plan would lead to 170 truck

trips a day throughout Maspeth, and 128067 c128067r2

would turn the Rust Street/Maspeth Avenue intersection into a makeshift waste transfer station.

A resolution endorsing Kerzner's recommendations was approved unanimously.

Ridgewood Reservoir: Phase I

In his turn at the dais, Parks Committee Chairperson Steven Fiedler went over the first phase of the longawaited reconstruction of the Ridgewood Reservoir.

This phase, it was stressed, does not include the controversial plan to fill one of the reservoir's three basins for the creation of ballfields. Fiedler pointed out that the proposed ballfields would comprise eight acres in the northwest portion of the park, in the westernmost basin.

The first phase of the plan (costing $7.6 million of a total $26 million allocated for the renovation) involves installing fencing of varying lengths along all three basins, the cleanup and fencing of the causeways between the basins (described by Fiedler as being "like a jungle" in its current state), the ability to lock paths shut in several spots, close to 100 new lights, staircases and wheelchairaccessible ramps.

In addition, several areas will have "historic" wrought-iron fencing and sit-down areas.

Fiedler offered several improvements to the plan, in a proposed "Phase 1A."

Among the recommendations (again adopted unanimously by Board 5) were higher fencing (six feet as opposed to four), canopied bus stops and a wheelchair-accessible ramp by the parking lot on the western side of the reservoir.

Afterward, District Manager Gary Giordano opined on the long and winding road the park has taken toward its renovation.

"I think Highland Park's got a lot of potential. I think that one problem here is that the Parks Department is basically dependent on elected officials securing money for the reconstruction of parks."

This, Giordano noted, leads to a 3 17:15

situation where "the reconstruction of parks may not be based on need; it may be based on political clout."

He added that, due to the park's position on the outskirts of the community board's coverage area, it has not had the board's attention in the same way that Principe, Farmers Oval or Juniper Valley parks have had.

"We hope not any more," he stated, "and we hope that some funding will be allocated to reconstruct the ballfields at Highland Park so that the people over there will have nice fields to play on, and that there won't be any talk of constructing fields in a reservoir basin that could be a natural habitat."

Juniper Valley Park news

Fiedler announced that reconstruction has begun at the Juniper South Playground in Juniper Valley Park. The date of completion is somewhat uncertain, though Fiedler theorized that it would take approximately nine months to complete.

He also addressed the recent vandalism of at least 15 trees from the public space (covered in last week's Times Newsweekly). According to the Parks Committee chair, the city's contract with the firm responsible for the tree planting allows for a onetime only replanting of a vandalized tree.

"If they're vandalized again," he warned, "we're out of luck."

Licenses and demolitions

Board 5 endorsed liquor licenses for two new establishments, and endorsed renewals for 10 others.

The two new licenses, who both requested a wine/beer license, are Los Potreros Corp. (d.b.a. La Cantina El Dos De Oros), at 681 Seneca Ave.; and Rumors Pod Room Corp., at 883 Wyckoff Ave., both in Ridgewood.

69-08 Myrtle Restaurant Inc. (d.b.a. Glendale Inn) at 69-08 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale and Casey Jones Saloon, at 64-02 68th Ave. in Ridgewood both received endorsements for renewals of their full liquor licenses.

The eight establishments seeking

renewal of their wine/beer licenses 10/17/02 JT


• Milan Sport, 73-11 Metropolitan Ave., Ridgewood;

• Mondo Sport, 465 Onderdonk Ave., Ridgewood;

• East Coast Associates (d.b.a. Glendale Diner), 71-08 Myrtle Ave., Glendale;

• Little Havana Cigar Company, 63-10 Woodhaven Blvd., Rego Park;

• Clodmiro Canela (d.b.a. La Cabana Jarabacoa Restaurant), 65-13 Fresh Pond Rd., Ridgewood;

• 5000 Grand Deli Corp. (d.b.a. 5000 Grand Deli), 5000 Grand Ave., Maspeth;

• La Morena Restaurant, 861 Wyckoff Ave., Ridgewood;

• JCM Pizza Ltd. (d.b.a. Corato II Pizzeria), 60-91 Myrtle Ave., Ridgewood.

In addition, it was announced that the on-premises liquor license application for Pollos Mario Woodhaven Corp., located at 63-20 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park, will be the subject of a State Liquor Authority "500- foot rule" hearing on July 21 at the state agency's fourth-floor offices on 317 Lenox Ave. in Manhattan.

Board 5 also announced that they have received demolition notices for four properties: 52-15 69th Pl. (a garage) and 56-07 60th St. in Maspeth, and 22-16 to 22-18 Harman St. (both garages) in Ridgewood.

Finally, Board 5 voted to approve a video arcade license to The Fun House, at 62-73 Fresh Pond Rd. in Ridgewood, by a 22-9 count, with one abstention and one member not voting due to a conflict of interest.

Other news

• Responding to a statement during the public forum by Board member Peggy O'Kane, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley revealed that she had asked the Metropolitan transportation Authority to get involved with the deteriorating conditions at the intersection of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue.

Calling the crossing "the entrance to Middle Village," O'Kane stated that "it looks like a slum."

Crowley noted that she wants to 85 Iris #1

pressure the MTA to take down unsightly abandoned buildings at that intersection, possibly to be replaced with green space.

• In his report to the advisory body, District Manager Giordano noted that the city budget crisis has affected sanitation, with curtailed street cleaning and garbage pickup.

He added, that the "great majority" of Board 5's budget—set to be cut dramatically—has been restored, but that their graffiti removal program will take a hit.

On a different topic, Giordano noted that the process of street resurfacing on Metropolitan Avenue, from Fresh Pond Road to 80th Street, could begin at early as July 27.

However, the resurfacing of Eliot Avenue may wait until the next fiscal year, as Giordano noted that the city is looking at resurfacing longer sections of a single roadway as opposed to smaller stretches of more roadways.

• Land Use Committee Chairperson Walter Sanchez alerted the board to a residence at 78-46 79th Pl., which he claimed was built illegally.

According to Sanchez, the threefamily home exists in what was recently changed to an R4-1 zoning, which prohibits such construction.

He added that the house is occupied despite not having a valid certificate of occupancy. The developer has filed an extension for the certificate.

According to Sanchez, the committee is evaluating the issue and will have a recommendation by Board 5's August meeting.

• Theodore Renz, in his Transit Committee report, told the board that a rerouting of the B13 bus route toward Highland Park is "pending review" by the MTA, and that B38 limited-stop service is also under review.

He added that the MTA has agreed to "take a second look" at repainting the elevated train line above the Palmetto Street intermodal project.

*128067* Board 5 will meet in August at a time and location to be determined. Call 1-718-366-1834 or e-mail qnscb5@nyc.rr.com for more information.