Plans for a day-care center in Fresh Meadows provoked an outcry from the surrounding community, which called upon on the help of state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) last Friday.
Avella is attempting to negotiate with the property owners to find a new location for their business and is calling on FDNY and the city Department of Buildings to review the architectural plans he and community leaders have deemed unsafe because of classrooms located in the basement and which have been posted on the construction fencing with the words “F--k u!” scrawled on it.
“What should be important is quality of life, preservation of the neighborhood and safety. Overall, this project is not safe, not only for the people in the neighborhood, but for the parents who are going to bring our children here,” Avella said a news conference. “In case there’s a fire, that’s the problem with cellars — you have limited access to egress. I’ve met with the owner of the property and unfortunately the city’s given them approval, thus far.”
Avella is asking for a DOB review of the plans and an additional traffic study to look at the effects the daycare center will have on street parking and driving conditions. Some community members said motorists already disregard the speed limit on 67th Avenue where another school exists a couple hundred feet away.
According to the DOB website, the address at 172-03 67th Ave. has 11 violations, including an active stop work order in February, which records show was disregarded by developers. Construction was also underway for a parking lot on the property, which was put together with the purchase and demolition of two separate homes prior to June 2016.
The stop work order was lifted on Oct. 16, but the DOB noted there was no activity at the site, which was the case during Avella’s press event.
But Avella pointed out the site needs to be maintained while inactive.
“You can still make a profit here. Nobody is against you building to the appropriate zoning for one- and two-family houses,” Avella said. “But please do not go ahead because the opposition is going to continue and hopefully we can get the DOB to very carefully look at this application and include an infrastructure component as well as a traffic study.”
Robert Anello from the Flushing Heights Civic Association said the 300-seat daycare would only pile more students into an area with 900 hundred children already attending PS 173 just a block away, which would cause traffic congestion and dangerous conditions with more cars passing through.
Bill Anello, president of the civic association, said motorists double park as it is with the existing school.
“With this building, everything is going to be on the roof,” Anello said, describing where the playground will be located. “What does that do to the families that have abutting properties? The noise and then we’ll have added sanitation issues — there will be four, five, six dumpsters somewhere over here, and what does that bring? Rats. It’s a total nuisance.”
According to Avella, the School Construction Authority and Board of Education have no purview over private daycare businesses.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall