2002-05-25 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

On The Beachâ026 With Beverly Baxter

As I wrote in last week's column, I attended the recent monthly meeting
of the Community Planning Board and became informed of the many interesting happenings that are on the horizon for our town. First, I want to extend my best wishes to Rosemary Murray who will be retiring as President of the board. Murray, who had enjoyed a long career with IBM, had brought these same executive skills to the planning board where she served this community well for eight years. She will remain as a member. Although her service as President will be hard to follow, nominations were taken from the floor for her replacement. Dolores Orr and Al Moore, who have served on the Executive Board, were nominated. Although both are quite capable, I would like to see Dolores Orr get the nod. A vote by the general assembly will take place in June and I wish them both well in this endeavor.

It seems every where you go, from the east to the west end of the peninsula, there is much building and new construction going on. In fact, one of the main principal developers has told me that if anyone has any vacant land, they should hold on to it. Since December when the plan for Arverne-By-The-Sea was first unveiled, the price of per square foot for land
in Rockaway has nearly doubled. Another job in Edgemere is expected to so break ground this summer for four hundred two-family homes between Beach 35 and Beach 37 Streets. Unlike Arverne-By-The-Sea, which is being sold at market rate, these are Partnership housing.

Also, the agenda was a report from the contractor who has been hired for
the removal and dismantling of the LIPA Substation at Beach 108 Street and Beach Channel Drive. In 2001, it was determined that the eighty year old station was too antiquated and unreliable to service the community and a new substation was constructed and has been in service since February of this year. The community has been concerned with and alarmed by how the final dismantling of the old facility will be handled. According the contractor, the next steps will involve the removal of the old equipment and 14 transporters which will be transported to LIPA's headquarters in Hicksville, Long Island. The steel structures and concrete block will be taken down; however, the foundation and subsurface will remain untouched according to DEC regulations. There was tremendous concern about contaminated dust and
how it will impact air quality. Dolores Orr asked, "Could the community expect to see men walking around in white suits with masks?" The spokesperson for the firm assured the planning board that it will take every
precaution to measure air quality levels and they will wet down the site
each day to keep construction dust down. The air will be monitored to make sure that no hazardous material escapes. The contractor will then do final paving of streets and sidewalks around the site, install new fencing on the freeway side, and landscape the area. Nadia Murphy, of the Belle Harbor Garden Club will be working on the landscape design, which is slated to begin June 1. Among those who addressed the contractor were Barbara J. Morris, who raised the relevant question about planting on contaminated soil and Sylvan Klein, who asked about an evacuation plan if the dire need should arise. The spokesman stated that there were no evacuation plans in place and that they do not anticipate the need for such a severe measure. Another question was asked about who will monitor the air quality? Will it be a subcontractor for LIPA or an independent agency? Hmmmm.

It was nice to see our always gracious Councilman Joe Addabbo who
attended the meeting to report on the much contested relocation of the Firehouse on Beach 59 Street to a new facility on Beach 48 Street which will also house the EMS. Although the Councilman does not sit on the City Council's Land Use Subcommittee and therefore could not cast a vote, he did attend the meeting to voice his opposition to the move in that it would cause an increase in response time, which would put many residents in danger.

He also noted that due to the massive new construction and expected increase in the population on the peninsula over the next several years, it was absolutely imperative that this fire safety issue is maintained. Despite Addabbo's persistent plea to his colleagues, the subcommittee still voted in favor of the move. The Councilman stated that there was still discussion to be heard and he was still hopeful that the move would not go through.

My condolences to the congregation of Derech Emunoh, which lost their historic shul in a raging fire last week. The synagogue, which was owned by
the city and had landmark status was to be included in the plans and restored by the developers of Arverne-By-The-Sea. Since the structure was owned by the city, the builders are under no obligation to rebuild. The cause of the fire which ultimately destroyed Derech Emunoh was deemed electrical.

Since the Community Planning Board's Ad-Hoc Memorial Committee voted to approve the renaming of certain streets, playgrounds, and parks in memory of eight distinguished people who passed away this past year, many people have approached me to find out how they could submit other names for whom they would like a street or specific site named. The board accepts requests each year; and in the wake of 911, they expect to receive and honor many of these requests. For those names that were approved by the board for this year, a
recommendation for the site renaming will be made to Councilman Joe
Addabbo and a formal renaming dedication ceremony will take place in the near future. I will let you know the details as I become informed of them.

Rumor has it that Rockaway will be home to a new Starbuck's! One of our local Brokers has been contacted by a representative of the company. So, for all you latté lovers who require at least three or four cups in order to get your buzz on, stay tuned for the location of this exciting new addition to our town.

The James Conway Sullivan Queens County Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee held its final meeting of the 2002 season. I sincerely hope that my colleagues on the committee have an enjoyable summer and that we each take a deep breath before we resume in September to launch our 2003 parade.

Long time committee member Kathleen Mulqueen, who is a Breast Cancer survivor, will be riding tandem with Edward Shevlin on his Harley motorcycle along with three thousand members of the Local Chapter of Harley Bikers Against Breast Cancer. They will ride, and Kathleen will proudly join them throughout the five boros on June 30. Watch for them!

Congratulations to Mary Bright on the graduation of her son David from...Harvard! I'd say Mary certainly has bragging rights!

Happy Birthday wishes to Greg Angelos!

See you....On the Beach!       

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