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Addressing Jamaica Estates concerns

Addressing Jamaica Estates concerns

Councilman Rory Lancman, at mic, speaks at the Jamaica Estates Association’s Leadership Town Hall on Monday night. Assemblyman David Weprin, left, NYPD Capt. Louron Hall and Community Board 8 Chairwoman Martha Taylor also spoke at the event.

Neighborhood group holds town hall with pols, precinct and CB 8 chief

Garbage, speeding, bioswales and other concerns were addressed at the Leadership Town Hall meeting sponsored by the Jamaica Estates Association on Monday Night.

With JEA President Ed Toriello moderating, a panel of area leaders took questions that had been submitted by the audience. The group was composed of Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), Capt. Louron Hall from the 107th Precinct, Community Board 8 Chairwoman Martha Taylor and Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows).

Litter on the Grand Central Parkway service road and Midland Parkway was the subject of one of the questions.

“It’s not the people in Jamaica Estates,” Toriello asserted.

Lancman pointed to how his discretionary Council funds have enabled his office to have a company on contract that deals with garbage “hot spots” in his district.

“If you identify some hot spots for us, we will get them to come out and clean them up periodically,” he said, adding that it could be “worthwhile or helpful to have a sign put in telling people not to litter.”

As Weprin pointed out, the litter issue is especially acute at 188th Street and the parkway’s south service road.

Another issue on the service road — speeding — came up.

Hall said that the 107th “periodically” has cops posted on the road to monitor the issue.

“We like to have officers out there enforcing that speed limit to try to get the message across and try to change poor driving habits,” said the captain, who is the precinct’s executive officer.

In the Jamaica Estates area, Union Turnpike is a major commercial strip.

The assemblyman was successful last year in getting the Department of Transportation to extend parking meters on the turnpike between 188th Street and Utopia Parkway from one to two hours, which the Union Turnpike Merchants Association had sought.

On Monday, he revealed that the DOT had recently agreed to expand the two-hour meter policy on Union from 188th to 193rd streets.

The same agency and road were the topic of another related discussion at the event.

Lancman announced last year that the DOT would study how to improve safety and mobility on the road between Utopia and 188th Street.

The councilman said at Monday’s event that the study’s results are expected to be available “within the next month. … And from that, hopefully, there will be proposals to improve the flow of traffic.”

Traffic in the residential part of Jamaica Estates was also addressed.

CB 8 had sent homeowners on Henley Road between Radnor Street and Wareham Place a letter asking for their view on potentially banning parking on one side of the roadway.

Taylor urged all those who received the letter to send a response back with their thoughts to the advisory council.

“If we don’t get a 75 percent approval response, then it’s not an issue; it’s not going to happen,” she said.

“So if you got that card and you live in that area of Henley Road, please, whether you want it or you don’t want it, we need to know,” Taylor said, adding that the deadline for a response is “in another week or two.”

As Toriello explained, CB 8 was five cards short of reaching the 75 percent threshold on Monday night.

One question on Monday night asked about how single-family homes in the neighborhood could be prevented from becoming “rooming houses” for St. John’s University students.

Taylor said that just because kids from the school were living in a single-family house does not mean that it was an illegal conversion, being that city law allows up to three unrelated people to live in one of the homes.

Lancman urged those concerned about homes with students that may be problematic to reach out to SJU Vice President for Community Relations Joseph Sciami, who was at the meeting and briefly spoke at it.

Additionally, the councilman pointed to the fact that “violations of the building code will be enforced.”

Encouraging people to reach out to his office or Weprin’s, Lancman said, “we will get the Buildings Department to go out.”

In parts of Queens, bioswales — sidewalk rain gardens installed by the city to absorb stormwater — have been very controversial.

A man in the crowd said that he had seen green markings — which the Department of Environmental Protection puts on locations where it is considering installing bioswales — on Tudor Road. And he added that he thought that drilling he’d seen on Mayfield Road may have been done with the intent of installing one of the rain gardens.

“I’ll look into it,” Taylor said, adding that she’d recently heard the city wasn’t planning on installing bioswales in any part of Jamaica Estates.

How homeowners can opt out of having the rain gardens installed in front of their home was also discussed.

Toriello explained how some people — like himself because of where the irrigation system in his front yard is — are allowed to get out of the program, but they have to reach out to the DEP to do it.

The JEA president added that bioswales can “interfere with the egress into your house. A lot of seniors or people with disabilities were asking to opt out for that reason.”

The councilman asked anyone who was planning on reaching out to the DEP to opt out to also let his office know about the situation.

credit to qchron.com