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Preserve site of Creedmoor facility from private developers

At a packed joint meeting of the Bellerose Commonwealth Civic Association and the Queens Colony Civic Association June 9, the groups discussed recent proposals for private development on New York state property, formerly the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.

Over many years, the state has been selling off excess property on the 600-acre campus. In past years, the state had notified the community of planned land transfers, but lately the transactions are occurring without any notification to community boards, community groups or even local elected officials.

In addition, the purchasers are apparently making plans to develop their parcels without regard to zoning or the character of the neighboring communities. One such group has presented plans to local civic leaders. On a site zoned for commercial development, explicitly excluding residential development, the group wants to build two nine-story apartment buildings. In addition to the zoning issue, any apartment building would be completely out of context with the surrounding single-family homes.

It would also attract significant additional traffic on local side streets entering the site. Furthermore, the 2006 documents supporting the transfer of public lands to the private group specifically called for a single-story community facility building, parking lot and athletic field. We are told that the original sale was conditioned on non-residential use.

Jerry Wind, visiting president of the Bellerose Hillside Civic Association and closest neighbor to the property, recently discovered that on May 25 a massive lot facing Hillside Avenue has been sold to another private organization. The site has been deemed eligible for the Federal Registry of Historic Places and this lot contains several parts of the original Creedmoor building.

A review of this property is required. There has been no public discussion of this transfer. We have not yet located any plans for use, except that these historic and architecturally significant buildings will be demolished. The current nonprofit tenants in those buildings have received notice to vacate within three years. This is outrageous.

Based on the already significant overdevelopment in the area and the strong desire to maintain the suburban quality of life of the Bellerose/Queens Village area, the BCCA and QCCA resolved to oppose the current plans to develop large apartment buildings anywhere on the property. The organizations further agreed to restrict any future development anywhere on the Creedmoor campus to no higher than two stories.

This vote was unanimous. We strongly urge that state agencies responsible for land transfers on the property be mandated to make public disclosure of any transfer discussions prior to finalizing the transfer, sale or rental and that any such transfer be subject to the Universal Land Use Review Procedure, a State Environmental Quality Review and a City Environmental Quality Review with full public disclosure, review and input.

Richard C. Hellenbrecht

Acting President

Bellerose Commonwealth Civic Association

Bellerose

Angela Augugliaro

President

Queens Colony Civic Association

Floral Park

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