Today’s news:

College Point group home scores Board 7 approval

The board also heard some welcome news from several representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection on the renovation of Tallmans Island Water Pumping Station.But before sifting into the science of the College Point sludge factory, board members heard from the many residents who had come to speak at the group home hearing.The site will be the second College Point group home owned by the Association for the Advent of the Blind and Retarded. Executive Director Christopher Weldon said the home was formerly owned by a single mother of a mentally retarded child. Before the mother died, Weldon said, she asked that her home be turned into a group home so her daughter would not have to move."A site evaluation was conducted after that and it was designated suitable for this type of home," Weldon said.He then bought the home for $530,000, and is planning on spending $200,000 to upgrade the two-story dwelling so it will be suitable for the four men and three women, ages 32 to 52, who will live in the house. Additional amenities include maintenance by a six-person staff, housekeepers, gardeners and several renovations inside of the home, according to Weldon.Neighbors, however, worried about safety and increased traffic in the already congested vicinity of Sixth Avenue and College Place. Some even expressed skepticism over the power of their own influence on the community board at this juncture."This meeting here tonight, I hate to say it, but it's a sham because nothing is going to happen with this because it's already been decided," said one neighbor, Robert Jensan. "I have no objection to homes for mentally retarded people or mentally challenged people, but I don't understand how we can have a facility like that with parking all over the place with no respect for the people who live there."Board member Nick Miglino said it was not the first time such concerns have shown themselves over a home for the mentally challenged."You could be deciding the fate of the world and you wouldn't get as many people as you do when discussing a group home," Miglino said. "If anything, the public authorities pay more attention to these areas."Several DEP representatives later issued a presentation to the community board on some of the updates planned for the sewage treatment plant. The plans contain updates to structural and architectural designs of the old treatment plant, which had its last upgrade in the 1970s, according to DEP spokesman John Leonforte. Sewage pumps, air blowers, roofing, landscape and the electrical system landscape will all be replaced or upgraded.With the upgrade, the plant will reduce air pollution emissions and noise impact on the surrounding community. Water quality will also be improved, according to Leonforte, because of an improved nitrogen filtering system. CB 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty Jr. said the plans sound good, as long as they follow the wants of the board."Go back and tell them we want maintenance and we don't want to see truck traffic," he said. "We have enough of that in College Point."Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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