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Leak stokes worry over church plan

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ConEd spokesman D. Joy Faber said the gas pipe was due for an upgrade when the leak was discovered last Thursday. She estimated the line to be several decades old. Workers began repair work the same day the leak was discovered, she said, but a flurry of spring showers during the project caused a large amount of rainwater to infiltrate the gas main and become contaminated. The leak comes at a point of rising contention between the four homeowners on Little Neck Boulevard, the John Golden Park Block Association, the East Bayside Homeowners Association and members of the Grace Korean Presbyterian Church.As it currently stands, both the church and Little Neck Boulevard residents get delivered their gas through a line that runs down 28th Road and splits into a T before coming to dead ends on opposite sides of the block.At the north end of Little Neck Boulevard, the Grace Korean Presbyterian Church sits on a mapped but inactive street next to another gas hookup on 28th Avenue. The church plans an expansion to build over the mapped area, which will go before the city Board of Standards and Appeals for review in two weeks. Residents, however, are claiming the gas leak is just one more reason why the church should not be allowed to build."Every place should have pressure for gas and water on both sides," said EBHA President Frank Skala. "Right now it dead ends, so if it breaks it stays broken. Our main argument is do not let them build on that mapped street. Then you can never go underneath the building (to connect with another sewer or gas line) unless the city gives you special permission."Associate Pastor Bokang Kim of Grace Korean said the church wants to double its sanctuary capacity and is willing to compromise in order to make the community happy."We're asking the city government to approve our use of part of that road," he said. "The concern about a sewer line and gas line can be compromised within our parking lot. There would be no problem building it underneath our property."By Tuesday afternoon, Faber said all residents had their gas turned back on and work was scheduled to be completed by sometime the following week.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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