Community Board 14 November Meeting Recap

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Coming off the latest Election Day, that resulted in New Yorkers voting yes to term limits for Community Board members, the elephant in the room was barely mentioned at Tuesday’s Community Board 14 (CB14) meeting at the Knights of Columbus, but plenty of other issues were brought up, from land use to park updates and more.

Tuesday night’s meeting kicked off with the recently re-elected Senator Joe Addabbo briefly addressing term limits, and thanking the CB members for volunteering their time. He also provided a brief update on the wind farm proposal, saying that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is now in the process of looking for areas that might be interested in having a wind farm off their waters, and is actively seeking community input.

James Johnson, a representative from Comptroller Stringer’s office, said the comptroller is currently looking into NYCHA issues, particularly broken doors on buildings and advised that if anyone in a NYCHA property is having this or another issue, to contact the constituent services department at 212-669-3916.

CB14 District Manager Jon Gaska gave a heads up about an Economic Development Committee meeting at 7 p.m. on November 27 at the Knights, that will focus on an EDC update on the courthouse. He also advised that if anyone is willing to shovel snow for seniors and other residents this winter, to contact his office. Gaska also mentioned that CB14 will be getting some technology upgrades, including better internet, a new website and a new phone system. Finally, he also said that a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Far Rockaway Library will take place at 11 a.m. on Monday, November 19.

Chair Dolores Orr said that NY Rising will be sending a new representative to December’s CB14 meeting to discuss local projects that have long been ignored, but with the time to use the money for these projects winding down, discussions are now vital.

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato thanked the crowd for her re-election and announced some upcoming events such as various Naloxone training sessions coming up in December and a workshop on how to finance college at 6 p.m. on November 20 at the YMCA.

Selvena Brooks Powers and Nantasha Williams of the Port Authority were on hand to discuss the JFK Airport Redevelopment Plan that will bring many jobs and opportunities for business owners. Anyone interested in more information should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request to join the mailing list, or stay tuned for the new website, www.ANewJFK.com.

The floor was then open to public speaking, for which 10 people signed up. Clare Hilger, Jeremy Jones and Bridget Klapinski of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, all spoke on their disappointment in CB14 over how October’s meeting ended. At the last meeting, a member proposed creating an ad hoc committee to focus on beach issues as the Army Corps of Engineers starts its protection project. The idea was supported, but ultimately shot down because people said it would be unfair to the bayside residents, and the meeting came to an abrupt end so people could catch the latest Yankees game. Hilger, Jones and Klapinski said that the beach is still facing many issues with no plan for next year’s beach closure area, dangerous metal and wooden spikes being found on the beach, and the Army Corps plan still coming down the pipeline. They advised the board to reconsider creating an ad hoc committee to focus on beach issues. “It was disappointing that there was this rift between the bay folks and beach folks. We’re all surrounded by water. I would ask all to try and figure this out for the residents of the community because it's hard to watch this go down,” Jones said

Also in public speaking, Far Rockaway resident Bruce Jacobs spoke out against Far Rockaway being dumped on with homeless people in hotels and drug problems that he said are not being addressed. Then a resident of Dayton Towers complained to the Board about trying to change his shareholder status to his own name, instead of a resident that is deceased, and has become frustrated after being ignored by local elected officials. Jon Gaska said he would meet with him.

After getting into a personal tiff with Jon Gaska over an apology, Democratic District Leader Lew Simon provided some updates.  He’s trying to get Marine Parkway Bridge closures to start at midnight instead of 11 p.m. for the holiday season, but hinted that the work should stop completely and a new bridge should be built. He also said he’s working on the horrendous mail issue and hopes to have USPS representatives come to a meeting on November 29. Simon also said the Beach 116th Christmas tree lighting will be at 5 p.m. on December 1, and the menorah lighting will take place at 5:30 p.m. on December 5.

Kate Wells and Marva Kerwin spoke about a new group called Rockaway Revolutions that is advocating for racial justice, political transparency and sustainable environment. They’ve invited anti-racism speaker Tim Wise to speak at a meeting at 11 a.m. on November 17 at First Congregational Church on Beach 94th Street. Anyone interested in attending should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lisa George from Senator Sanders’ office also gave a heads up about some events including property tax exemption events that will occur throughout the district, including in Far Rockaway (1931 Mott Ave, Suit 305) on January 18 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also advised people, that in event of street flooding, to call Sanders’ office (718-327-7017) and report the location or send photos, as the state may be looking to help rectify the situation.

During the Land Use Committee presentation, there was one item about rezoning at 11-02 Plainview Avenue in Far Rockaway, in order for a local man and business owner to build a three-story single-family home. The representative said the man obtained letters of support from 57 neighbors. A motion was made to approve the rezoning and it passed.

The Parks Committee report included three projects. Further discussions were had about the planned Bay Breeze Park and kayak launch at Beach 88th Street. CB14 rejected the last plan for the park as it lacked some elements. The new plan will now include a mounded lawn instead of a salt marsh, a larger playground, an extended boathouse that allows for more storage, a shaded overhead area, binocular stations, foot showers and more. The new plan was approved. Construction is expected to begin in 2020. The next item was about reconstructing the Bayside Playground comfort station near Scholars’ Academy. The plan calls for raising the bathroom so it is more resilient, adding a new ADA compliant ramp, replacing damaged trees and more. The committee approved the project, under the condition that it be completed within 12 months, instead of 18 months, so that the school isn’t negatively impacted by the construction on the bathroom that is used during recess. A motion was made to approve the project. Another item was brought up about another school/Parks project, the Seaside Playground by Beach 109th Street. A committee came together to advocate for upgrades to the playground, but it requires funding that is late to be approved for this year’s budget, which was already submitted. The committee was advised to bring up the issue next year so it can be added to next year’s budget.

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