Moments before leaving for Albany on Tuesday evening, state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park) offered to help mediate the ongoing dispute between the Presbyterian Church of St. Albans and neighbors over a proposed 5-story senior housing complex that the church wants to build on Farmers Boulevard.
He should have stayed another 20 minutes, as the meeting, hosted by the St. Albans Civic Association, erupted into a nearly five-minute shouting match before about 30 church members walked out of the Guy R. Brewer Democratic Club.
The land in question is at 118-27/47 Farmers Blvd. in a neighborhood containing mostly one- and two-family houses.
The church wants the 67 units to house senior citizens who are being forced by circumstances to raise their grandchildren. There also would be space for a community center and some of the church’s social service programs.
Residents fear that 67 units could bring into a small plot of land more than 200 new residents, who they believe could overwhelm area schools, parking availability, infrastructure and services.
Under city zoning regulations, the church could build 22 units in three stories or fewer with about 26 parking spaces. But developers sought and received variances for height, allowable floor space and parking from Community Board 12 in November.
The final approval now must come from the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals. Harrigan said no hearing is yet on the BSA’s calendar, but that he wants to bring at least 25 residents to speak in opposition when a hearing does take place.