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CB 7 approves Linden Hill group home

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On a remote, deadend street in Linden Hill sits a shabby half-brick, half-frame two-story house. It is one of four homes, built in the 1970s, on 145th Street, a few paces away from 29th Avenue. But unlike the other three houses, the shabby one is to be refurbished by August and become a residence for six developmentally disabled people.

The homeowners of 145th Street, however, say they are worried that the residence will generate traffic and congestion, not to mention diminish the property value of their homes. Those concerns were taken to a Community Board 7 meeting Monday night. But the board ultimately voted in favor of approving the application by a 21-11 vote to establish the residence in Linden Hill.

The applicant, HeartShare Human Services of New York, operates 13 homes for the developmentally disabled and mentally retarded throughout Queens and Brooklyn. The residence on 145th Street is to provide housing for six adults whose level of retardation is defined as mild to moderate, according to the agency. In addition, residents are to receive workshops and day treatment, and the home will be staffed with supervision 24 hours a day.

Patricia O’Connell, a spokeswoman for HeartShare, said it is common for the agency to be met with consternation when it tries to establish a home in a residential community. The most oft-heard complaint, she said, is that the homes will drive down property values.

“This is always a concern, but consistently it is simply not the pattern that property value declines,” she said. “That just doesn’t happen — certainly not because of a residential home.”

Elito Macapagal, who has lived on 145th Street for 27 years, disagreed. He is an architect, his wife a doctor, and they live in a middle-class house that spreads out over nearly half the block. He said with conviction that the group residence to be built across the street from him would cause a decrease in the property value of his home.

“You don’t know how long people will live there,” he said. “Every month maybe there will be someone new there. You don’t know if every night at 12 o’clock they’re going to start shouting.”

Byung Kang has not lived on 145th Street quite as long as Macapagal. Kang, 30, moved from downtown Flushing only a few weeks ago. His wife is expecting a child and his mother lives with them, too. Traffic and congestion, he said, are his chief concerns, though declining property values places second. “The street is very quiet and there is low traffic,” he said.

The board’s approval Monday night all but guarantees that the home will be built, provided that the agency does not back out and search for a different site. The house is to begin operating in August, the agency said.

The community board also voted on four other items, approving them either unanimously or with virtually no opposition. In a 30-0 vote, the board granted permission to an amusement arcade, Smiles Entertainment, on Downing Street in Flushing, to continue operating for another year.

The board also approved a permit filed by Amerasia Bank to convert the upper floors of a building it owns, at 41-02 Main St., from residential zoning to commercial.

A proposal to change two streets in Flushing into one-ways passed by a vote of 31-1. The plan would affect Maple Avenue eastbound from College Point Boulevard to Kissena Boulevard, and Sanford Avenue westbound from College Point Boulevard to Kissena Boulevard. A citywide “statement of needs” also passed with a vote of 32-0.

Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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