JFK air cargo warehouse questioned at CB 13 meeting

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The City Economic Development Corporation brought a proposal to the board to rezone an area of undeveloped park land west of the Brookville Boulevard, Rockaway Boulevard intersection into a manufacturing zone.

"The sticking point was there just wasn't enough information," said Richard Hellenbrecht, the land use chairman of Community Board 13, which covers Springfield Gardens, Laurelton, Rosedale, Queens Village, Cambria Heights and Glen Oaks.

Hellenbrecht said the board voted down the proposal unanimously because an environmental impact statement was not provided until just before the meeting, so board members did not have an opportunity to study it.

Jannel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the city Economic Development Corporation, said the proposed air cargo warehouse would be 525,000 square feet and would bring 1,000 permanent jobs and 250 construction jobs to Queens. International Air Cargo is the company planning to build the warehouse.

While the Port Authority is not directly involved in the project, it is in favor of it because of the lack of cargo space at JFK, said Greg Trevor, a spokesman for the Port Authority.

But Hellenbrecht said wetlands are vital for keeping flooding down in the surrounding communities and it was not clear how the proposed warehouse would affect the ecological balance of the area.

But the worst potential problem are the trucks, Hellenbrecht said.

The area is already overburdened by trucks, and a warehouse would greatly increase the traffic flow of trucks in the area, he said. Trucks drive up and down Brookville Boulevard, which is not a designated truck route, Hellenbrecht said.

"They call it Snake Road," he said because for about a mile and half the road winds through wetlands with no visible development on either side.

Patterson said warehouses would be located on Rockaway Boulevard, between 227th Street and 232nd Street. But there are no cross streets on the long stretch of Rockaway Boulevard between Farmers Boulevard and Brookville Boulevard, which is essentially runs adjacent to the airport.

The issue will next go before the borough president's office as part of the city's land use review process.

"I don't think they will be coming back to the community board," said Hellenbrecht.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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