Cooper Avenue shelter requests waiver from LIRR
by Chase Collum
Jan 21, 2015 | 6484 views | 0 0 comments | 106 106 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano announced last week that the proposed homeless shelter at 78-16 Cooper Avenue will need a waiver from the Long Island Railroad in order to continue operating at the site.

The site, which was formerly used to process freight, is located just 35 feet away from the LIRR tracks and the building was originally built to handle heavy industrial loads.

“The engineer of record filed with NYC Department of Buildings,” said Giordano. “They’re saying that in their opinion, the LIRR approval is not needed.”

He believes that it is imperative that this waiver not be granted, and that the shelter be required to go through all of the necessary processes.

“One of the original reasons that the community board was opposed to this is the fact that there’s an active freight rail in close proximity to where someone would want to put 125 families,” Giordano said. “We need elected officials and members of the community board to send a letter in support of rejecting this request.”

Board Chairman Vincent Arcuri said the waiver was really just a “technical point,” and that the board’s position was such that the site should not receive the waiver because the community does not support the shelter, and some would like to see it returned to industrial and manufacturing use.

“If it doesn’t go ahead as a homeless shelter, we would want it back into warehousing and it should meet all the requirements for that,” Arcuri said.

Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association, said that according to the lawyer representing the Glendale Middle Village Coalition, a local organization organized to fight the shelter, it won’t hurt their cause to fight against the issue of a waiver from the LIRR.

“The point is we can’t let anything slip by,” Masi said, noting how long it took for the group to be made aware of the waiver request. “That’s a September 18th letter. We were only able to obtain a copy most recently.”

Another recent development at the shelter site was a move to combine lots, which Giordano said could make it easier for development.

“On a better note, their most recent plans to renovate that facility have been disapproved again by the Buildings Department,” Giordano said.

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