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Community Board 13 rejects ICCC’s access plan

Architect Gerald Caliendo presents a plan for a store along South Conduit Boulevard in Springfield Gardens. Photo by Rich Bockmann
TimesLedger Newspapers

At its final meeting before taking a two-month summer hiatus, Community Board 13 voted Monday night to reject a plan by the embattled Indian Cultural and Community Center to provide vehicular access to its land on the Creedmoor Psychiatric Campus in Bellerose.

The board chose at its May meeting to hold off voting on the center’s city Board of Standards and Appeals application, which seeks an easement to provide access to its property along 82nd Street because the ICCC’s failure to acquire a third parcel of land leaves one parcel it does own without access to city streets.

The nonprofit purchased two pieces of land on the campus, nestled between the Grand Central and Cross Island parkways, for $1.8 million through a controversial deal with the state Dormitory Authority in 2008 for the purposes of building a community center.

The ICCC later changed its plans to include two nine-story apartment buildings for seniors and unsuccessfully lobbied state legislators last year to approve the purchase of a third plot that would have provided access along Union Turnpike to the proposed developments.

That plan fell apart when the two original pieces were assessed at $7.8 million, raising questions about why the deal was approved when the sales price was so low and prompting the state inspector general to look into the ICCC’s dealings.

CB 13 rejected the apartment building plan, which is still pending with the BSA.

When a lawyer for the center brought its vehicular access plan to the board last month, CB 13 chose to hold off until the inspector general and state attorney general’s offices completed their investigations into the land deal.

At Monday’s meeting, however, board members decided to vote on the application regardless of the inspections’ findings.

CB 13 member Jerry Wind said other groups use the campus, some of whose patients are heavily medicated and roam around the grounds, making for unsafe driving conditions.

He also said the ICCC has been uncooperative with state investigators.

“This organization has been deceitful,” he said. “If this is such a great organization, why won’t they be forthcoming?”

The motion to reject the application received 17 yea votes and five abstentions.

Turning to another application, the board voted unanimously to approve the building of a commercial store, at 177-60 S. Conduit Ave. in Springfield Gardens.

CB 13 requested that the store remain open only from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and that businesses such as liquor stores, Laundromats, check cashers, pawn shops, hookah bars, storefront churches, delis and bars be prohibited.

The community board will hold its next meeting when it returns from a two-month summer break Sept. 25 at the Bellerose Assembly of God, at 240-15 Hillside Ave.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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