Graff Avenue group home plan opposed by CB 10 in advisory vote

A group home being proposed for Throggs Neck has the neighborhood up in arms.

The home for six developmentally disabled adults planned for 276 Graff Avenue met with fierce opposition from local residents at the Community Board 10 general meeting on Thursday, June 23.

CB 10 overwhelmingly voted to disapprove the group home plan after listening to an hour’s worth of testimony from the residents.

The cadre of residents objected to a $600,000 purchase price which they feel is above market value, and had concerns about their property values and a host of anticipated quality of life issues.

The board’s advisory opinion will be taken into consideration at a forthcoming NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities commissioner’s hearing.

The state would fund the project, which would be administered by Services for the Underserved if it gets approved.

After the vote, board members shared their opinions on the outpouring of opposition, which at times dissolved into shouting and noticable frustration.

Board member Bob Bieder said that CB 10 went along with the community because the board represents the community and there was a major outcry against the proposal.

“The problem is that people just don’t know who is moving in and they are afraid,” said Bieder. “The agencies that are opening these homes should introduce their clients to the community; I think that would make a world of difference.”

Bieder said that with the lack of information he could understand the homeowner’s concerns. A group home has operated on his block for years and they have been great neighbors, he added.

Another CB 10 member, Andrew Chirico, opposed the plan because he believes the fair market value of the home in question is closer to $400,000. He believes that the clients will not be from the community.

Graff Avenue neighbor Sonia Capifali shared Chirico’s sentiment about the purchase price, saying that “the state of New York is making this investment and it is fiscally irresponsible.”

She added that the group home plan was an unfair burden on her block.

One of several board members to vote in favor of the home was Irene Guanill.

Guanill said that she has a 32-year-old nephew with a developmental disability and her family is searching for a group home for him.

Guanill said she was grateful for group homes because people with developmental disabilities can now live on their own with the necessary supervision.

Local businessman John Cerini said that he and several others had knocked on doors on Graff Avenue to inform the community about the vote. He expressed his opposition to the proposal during the meeting.

The Graff Avenue group home had previously been discussed at a CB 10 hearing on Tuesday, June 7, where it did not appear have significant opposition.

Another group home proposal by Daybreak Independent Services that was also on the agenda on June 7, slated for 3206 Middletown Road, has been withdrawn on June 23, according to a letter read by CB 10 chairman Martin Prince.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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