The intent to purchase a group home for developmentally disabled adults at 904 Quincy Avenue was approved by Community Board 10 on Tuesday, July 24.
CB 10 voted 22-7 in favor of the home which will be under the control of Services for the Developmentally Challenged and overseen by NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.
The fair market value of the Quincy Avenue property, on the corner of Lafayeytte Avenue, was determined to be $735,000 according to a spokesman from SDC.
SDC intends to make $350,000 worth of renovations to accommodate the six 21-year-old male occupants. The one-family house will be manned by two to three SDC staff members at all times.
No major renovations are planned for the house’s exterior besides improvements to the existing driveway according to SDC.
“The board ultimately favored this location because it has a good parking situation for the two mini-vans that will be parked on site. The property is currently well maintained and has adequate [outdoor] space for its residents,” said CB 10 district manager Matt Cruz.
He noted that there are over 30 group homes in CB 10 and the board has received only one complaint. “They’ve been good neighbors,” Cruz added.
While the board overwhelmingly supported the site, some community members that attended the meeting showed mixed reactions to the proposal.
Michael Balzano, who lives next to the corner property, expressed concern about the property’s future use.
“I welcome anyone to move into that house, honestly. My concern isn’t about people with disabilities moving in…I’ll walk them to the store. My concern is the state controlling the property and changing its use in some years,” Balzano said at the meeting.
Many other residents expressed similar fears about the group home. If the home doen’t work out, could it be converted into a homeless shelter, they asked?
NYS officials confirmed that if SDC were to lose control of the property that its intended use could not altered from its current group home status without the approval of CB 10.
Other concerns expressed by residents were the home’s close proximity to M.S. 101, as well as the busy traffic along Lafayette Avenue.
“As far as traffic goes we intend to work with the NYPD to make sure that the intersection is safe and traffic protocols are enforced properly,” said Cruz. “At the meeting the residents that opposed the group home did not propose a different site within CB 10,” Cruz added while mentioning that if the home was denied, CB10 would have had to propose three alternate sites.
Councilmember Mark Gjonaj attended the meeting in an observor role.
“There’s a lot to take in from this, there’s a lot of mixed emotions, it’s obvious we need to look deeper into this and see what can be done,” Gjonaj said.
While the property’s sale has still not been finalized at this time, the completed renovations and group home’s opening could come early next year according to CB10.