Residents of Baychester want their voices to be heard.
Dozens joined Councilman Andy King on July 29 for the second time that month to protest a planned juvenile detention center at 3030 Bruner Avenue, on a quiet residential street.
The planned Limited Secure Placement facility, run by the Administration of Children’s Services, will house adolescents who were arrested before they turned 16-years-old for committing an act that would have been a crime if they were an adult, according to information provided by ACS.
But the residential neighborhood is not zoned for the institutional facility, said King, and will pose a safety risk to the neighborhood.
“We’re here today to express our outrage, and demand that the Administration of Children’s Services and the Department of Buildings reverse their decision for a limited secure placement facility to open here at 3030 Bruner,” said King.
“Our outrage is based on ACS’s blatant attempt to skirt zoning laws, and consequently compromise the community’s safety by miscategorizing the youth facility,” he added.
The residents marched through the neighborhood, chanting and alerting neighbors to the situation.
“It’s going to bring property values down, and it’s not going to be safe for the kids,” said Bruner Avenue resident Michael Blackwood, who was very concerned about the facility.
“It’s too close to the park,” said his neighbor, Yvette Phillips.
King’s office said the councilman has plans to sit down and discuss his concerns with ACS.
The planned facility is part of the state’s Close to Home initiative, which allows young people adjudicated in family court to be placed in or near New York City under the care of the ACS, where they will receive educational credits toward graduation in NYC Department of Education schools, reside close to their communities enabling their families to be part of the rehabilitation process, and benefit from aftercare services that are tailored to the strengths and needs of the young people and their families, according to ACS.
The programs have a 1 to 3 staffing ratio, and LSP facilities will be locked and will have multiple safety and security measures both to protect residents and to ensure the safety of the surrounding community, ACS notes.
“ACS expects to launch the second and final phase of Close to Home, Limited Secure Placement in Fall 2015,” a statement from the agency reads. “Construction work is being completed on Limited Secure Placement facilities to provide a safe, stable, and close-knit environment for young people to receive residential rehabilitation services while in our care, and to also ensure the safety of residents and the surrounding community.”
The Department of Buildings has previously stated that the plans for the project at this location were reviewed and determined to be in compliance with the NYC Constructions Codes and the Zoning Resolution.