By Arlene Schlesinger
Community Advocate and County Committee Leader
We are an amazing culturally, religious, and ethnically diverse enclave not really seen in any other area in New York. We applaud our diverse cultural communities and how we all live together harmoniously with no issues. We all share the pride we have in our area. Eastern Queens has been a wonderful suburban oasis in our city. It is a place we made our home, raised our children, enjoyed our mammoth parks and recreational facilities, and maintained high performance in our schools.
But now, all that is about to change. The Empire State Development has released a “Master Plan” for the redevelopment of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus.
This plan, as it is written, would create a devastating density issue in our local suburban area, which regrettably, was undertaken without community input first. The plan excluded our land use committees to bring it to fruition, in order to appease outside interests that had been lobbying Governor Hochul, Borough President Richards, and at some point, got the ear of Mayor Adams.
The first issue is density, density, density! They are literally stuffing an entire town into a small area. This project will now cram 110 buildings with 2890 units into 58 acres, some of which are eight-story high elevator buildings. By comparison, Glen Oaks Village, which is spread out over 110 acres has only 2,904 two-story coops with plenty of green space. The proposed project boasts 14 acres of green space. But those 14 acres are broken up into pieces which include rooftop green space, without the quality of the parkland which our area enjoys.
They are making a big fuss about the housing shortage issue and here they come with the plan to save the day. But most of us do not know New York City has had a housing shortage since 1948! This plan is placing an elephant in our yard and simply put, it is much too dense and not in tune with the suburban quality of the area. Scaling it back, reducing the heights of these structures to 2 and 3 story buildings would not get this pushback.
The second big issue is parking. When we asked about underground parking, they determined it was too costly. So where are all these cars going to be parked? They will allow one car per family, one car for every two seniors, in open area parking. Do the math, they will supply parking for about 1500 cars, with no plans for visitor parking, senior assistance visitors and other parking needs. This will push 1000’s of cars onto our local streets and boulevards. Plus, we do not have the infrastructure to support this massive development – water, sewage, electrical grid, roads, schools, or lastly the transportation to accommodate their agenda.
The other big issue we have with this plan is their new buzzword “supportive housing” which in plain English is housing for the homeless or near homeless which encompasses 35% of the property. Recently released convicted felons and juvenile offenders, drug addicts and alcoholics are all part of their master plan for our communities.
We say scale it down! Local civic associations, community board leaders, and the Queens Civic Congress are demanding low density scale of development, use existing structures, provide adequate parking, no buildings over three stories, and no homeless shelters, no felons, no addicts. We are asking for low-rise nursing/adult care facilities with affordable housing for seniors and veterans. We are asking for these units be on par with the prices and character of our already existing coops like Bell Park Manor Terrace and Glen Oaks Village.
It’s time to get involved. We are hopeful to get a town hall meeting with Empire State Development and the office of Borough President Donovan Richards. We need to know the community as a whole will come out to support our efforts to save our communities. Sign the petition and share! We need your comments and feedback as well. The QR code will take you to the petition and you will see the latest updates with all the info on this master plan.