Dear Governor Spitzer;
We write to you, hoping that your office can assist us, the residents of Jamaica Estates, during this difficult period. Our lovely neighborhood is being threatened by Saint Johns University's construction of a 485 dormitory facility in the midst of our community without going through any of the legal procedures customarily required for a project of this nature.
St. Johns University, with the aid of Kamali Developers and others, surreptitiously planned the construction of a six story dormitory, circumventing the Community Board, the Planning Board, Elected Officials, The Jamaica Estates Association and the community at large. These entities used a loophole commonly referred to as the Community Facility loophole that will permit a private university to build a private dormitory facility, five times the size of its former structures and doing so with impunity. There has been a total disregard for the impact this large number of students would have on the neighborhood, or the city's infrastructure, transportation, parking etc. Ultimately, this says very little about the protections the law provides to the average taxpayer.
As if this panorama were not bleak enough, we recently found out that our Councilman Jim Gennaro, a former Jamaica Estates Association president, who is supposedly fighting on our community's behalf, is accepting generous campaign donations from Kamali Developers, the company commissioned to build this facility the St. John's dorm will occupy.
Mr. Gennaro, who claims to be working to close the Community Facility loophole, we fear will instead benefit from the special interest group's big bucks and do little to address the issue at hand. It is disingenuous at best, for him to claim that he feels our pain while fattening his coffers with money from the individuals he alleges to be fighting against.
The Jamaica Estates community urges you to investigate this matter, or refer the same to the appropriate agency or government sub division that can do so. We must know who stands with us or against us particularly next time we elect those who will represent us.
Maria & Louis
Jamaica Estates residents