Proposed group home on Buttrick Avenue stirs up controversy

Judge Armando Montano (c), a local resident, speaks on the proposed group home at 241 Buttrick Avenue, at the Community Board 10 hearing on Wednesday, March 30.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

A proposed group home on a quiet Throggs Neck residential street has prompted concerns from neighbors.

Several residents of Buttrick Avenue between Miles and Harding avenues testified at a Community Board 10 public hearing on Wednesday, March 30 about their concerns with a proposed group home for six young adult men with developmental disabilities.

A wide range of opinions were expressed about the plan to purchase 241 Buttrick Avenue for $650,000 as a Daybreak Independent Services-sponsored facility.

Among them were comments about the structural integrity of the proposed site, loss of the residential nature of the block and circumvention of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

Community Board 10 did not yet vote on the issue because a quorum was not present at the hearing.

Another proposed group home, a completely unrelated project for adult males with autism at 1538 Crosby Avenue did not appear to have substantial community opposition.

Special Futures Unlimited, the sponsor, plans to enter into a rental agreement with the Pelham Bay property’s current owner.

Ebenezer Smith, a resident of Buttrick Avenue who attended the hearing held at Fort Schuyler House, felt the proposal would alter his block’s character.

Smith believes the quality-of-life on Buttrick will be affected because there will be more traffic when transporting the residents to and from their worksites, the home’s around-the-clock staffing and ancillary deliveries.

He said he once lived next door to a group home on Sylvan Avenue, and that he saw first-hand increased traffic.

All of this extra activity will likely create noise on what is otherwise a quiet block, he said.

Smith rebuffed the sponsoring agency’s claim that the home would have a positive impact on local businesses.

“The commercial corridor is seven blocks away,” he said. “You need to have a long walk or take a vehicle to get there.”

He speculated that the best place for a home like the one proposed would be on or near a major thoroughfare like East Tremont Avenue, where residents are used to noise and other effects of being near a commercial district.

Another neighbor, Judge Armando Montano said that he was concerned about the safety of the residents.

He, as well as many other neighbors, believe the building being considered has serious structural flaws.

He said that the 2-family house, built 10 years ago, has never been occupied and believes the reason may be due to shoddy construction.

He called for an engineer to thoroughly inspect the property, as well as the two adjoining homes.

He also expressed his belief that situating a group home there would adversely affect the resale potential of the other two properties that have also been vacant or partially vacant for years.

“If you have a building with mentally disabled people and right next door you have a abandoned building, that’s a dangerous situation, it is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Montano.

Daybreak Independent Services is considering alternate sites proposed by CB 10, said its executive director Vilas Loban.

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

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