Bullet Points: Community Board 15 – November 27, 2012

St. Mark Church to House Group Home for Developmentally Disabled Girls: Community Board 15 gave the green light to St. Vincent’s Services to move an intermediate care facility into St. Mark Roman Catholic Church, located at 2601 East 19th Street.

The facility’s Associate Executive Director and Managing Director of Developmentally Disabled Services Janice Ashton briefed the Board on the organization’s plan, saying that 14 “profoundly disabled young ladies” between the ages of 25 and 60 will use the existing vacant rectory building – formerly a convent. All of the girls have suffered profound or severe mental handicaps from birth, and will be attended by a staff ratio of two to three clients per staff member.

“I really know these consumers and their families. We have done such a good job that many of them, they never thought they would live so long,” Ashton said. “Usually 30 to 35 [years is the average lifespan]; they’re approaching, some 60s, 50s, and in other facilities, we have 70s and 80s.”

The patients will never be without supervision, Ashton promised, in response to a boardmember’s question.

“Our ladies don’t go anywhere without supervision. Not even to the girlie’s room,” Ashton said.

The organization is not religiously affiliated, though it did spring from a service overseen by the Brooklyn-Queens Diocese, and a member of the diocese sits on St. Vincent’s Services’ board.

St. Vincent’s Services is currently located on 15th Street between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue in Park Slope. But after 25 years, their facility has fallen into disrepair, with mold issues and a damaged roof among other ailments.

Ashton described the St. Mark space as “perfect,” noting that it will allow for private rooms for their clients.

The Board approved the facility in a vote of 34 to one.

Elected officials

  • Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes stopped by the meeting to tout two programs offered by his office. Project Safe Surrender, a pilot community program that helps individuals resolve summons/warrants, will take place on December 14 and 15 at Mr. Sion Baptist Church (325 Ralph Avenue). More information can be found here. The D.A.’s gun buy back program will take place on December 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Brownsville Baptist Church (600 Stone Avenue) and St. Peter Lutheran Church (105 Highland Place).
  • Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein informed residents that her district boundaries are changing on January 1, 2013. Her new district border abutting Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz has shifted, going down East 18th Street from Avenue N to Avenue Z, then shimmies over to East 26th Street, pulling in all of Plumb Beach down to Knapp Street on Emmons Avenue. New constituents need not wait until the new lines come into effect, she said, and can come in to her 3520 Nostrand Avenue district office and discuss any issue. You can also call (718) 648-4700 or e-mail.
  • Councilman David Greenfield, like Weinstein, thanked all those who turned out to help neighbors during Superstorm Sandy, and reassured attendees that, as government reps, he and his colleagues “will do everything we can to make sure that every person who was displaced can get back on their feet.” He also noted his office’s “good neighbor policy” stating that he will help any resident, regardless of whether or not they’re a constituent. His office is located at 4424 16th Avenue, and you can call (718) 853-2704 or e-mail. Greenfield also discussed a few “common sense” legislative initiatives, including one that would make Black Friday an official holiday, thereby suspending Alternate Side of the Street Parking regulations and meter rules. Black Friday, he said, is the most ticketed day of the year. He has also introduced legislation to update fire hydrant parking regulations, which currently say you can stand at a fire hydrant during the day, but not at night. He said these rules are 100 years old and predate modern fire trucks, and that it is just as safe now to stand at a fire hydrant at night as it is during the day. Finally, a hearing has been held on a previous bill of his, which would require the Department of Education to distribute voter registration forms when parents register their children for school. He also wants to scrap the new voting machines and return to the old ones.

Zoning items

  • 2047 East 3rd Street – The Board voted to approve a special permit application to enlarge a single family home. There were no objections.
  • 1995 East 14th Street – The Board voted to approve a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family home, and a variance to allow the enlargement. The building is currently in violation of zoning law because it is a corner property, and its side yard is considered by the city as a front yard, for which the city requires a larger open space. The building is being extended towards the back, triggering the need to apply for a variance for the existing violation. There were no objections.

Other board actions

  • The Board voted 34 to one against against a recommendation to relocate an outpatient addiction treatment clinic from 2990 Brighton 12th Street to 2634 East 21st Street, saying that the residential block near St. Mark School was inappropriate. (More information in an upcoming post.)
  • The Board voted 31 to four in favor of another drug counseling center, One World Counseling, proposed for 1670 East 17th Street. (More information in an upcoming post.)
  • The Board voted in favor of supporting a resolution from Borough President Marty Markowitz, asking for a Department of Transportation feasibility study to permit angled parking on Shell Road, from Avenue X to the Belt Parkway. (More information in an upcoming post.)

Miscellaneous information

  • Community Board 15 has begun collecting donations for Toys for Tots. They are only accepting cash and checks, which can be mailed or brought to their office at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard, Room C124).
  • District Manager Pearl Berg thanked Kingsborough Community College and the Department of Sanitation for their tremendous work in Superstorm Sandy Recovery. She noted that Sanitation is asking residents to put all Sandy debris and other items in black bags.
  • Alternate Side Parking regulations remain suspended in Community Board 15, but this can be terminated at any time.
  • Stan Kaplan noted that there will be a free holiday concert on Sunday, December 16, at 2:00 p.m. by the Kingsborough Musical Society Chorus, Kingsborough College Chorus and Brooklyn Community Wind Ensemble and Concert Band at 2001 Oriental Boulevard in the Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center.
  • Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association President Ed Jaworski reported that the group’s food drive was a success, collecting two to three times the amount of food as in previous years, and donated $500 to the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association for Sandy relief. He also continued his criticism of the Board’s land use votes, saying it operates as a rubber stamp. He has requested the Board develop a plan to investigate the cause of 450 active Stop Work Orders and tens of millions of dollars in unpaid fines. He also suggested they suspend special permits for two to three years while the city and state study the development issues that came to light during Sandy.
  • State Senator Marty Golden will host a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on December 10 at Lady Moody Square (Van Sicklen Avenue and Avenue U) in Gravesend.
  • Steve Zeltser, a former legislative aide to Councilman Michael Nelson and campaign treasurer in Councilman Lew Fidler’s bid to State Senate, has formed a new coalition of elected officials, civic associations, religious groups and not-for-profits called Stop the Casino. The group hopes to stop any budding plans to place a full-service casino in Coney Island, citing studies that link such casinos to economically depressed communities.


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