Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bless this Father, for he hath sinned

It is amazing the twists and turns that the St John's University, Henley Road dormitory has taken. I am certain the damage control firm St. John's University hired to protect their tarnished reputation has urged the developer to assume the blame for all that ails said project and cast aspersions on the community for not embracing it.

But let's not forget the real culprit, Father Donald J. Harrington, and remind readers that the point is not whether the building is legal or not. It's the ethics of using the "community facilities loophole" in the zoning code, to build a private dormitory, for a private university in the heart of a residential community, and doing so after providing assurances to the community that no off campus dorms would be built. Father Harrington went so far as to create a dialog group to appease the neighbors, all while secretly planning this massive dormitory.

The important message to take away from this unfortunate situation is that this can happen to any community at any time. The character of a neighborhood can be altered and the quality of life of its residents diminished by corporations and special interest groups especially when said communities are saddled with politicians like Jim Gennaro who claim to have the resident's best interest at heart all while accepting hefty donations from the developers, this time the Kamali Organization. Mark our words; Jamaica Estates residents will be fighting similar wars in the not too distant future when St. John's or a developer on behalf of St. John's decides to raze additional homes, perhaps this time in Surrey Place or Midland Parkway, to build another monstrous dormitory.

Don't allow Senator Padavan to become a scapegoat for the St. John's dorm fiasco. He is working on behalf of his constituents, protecting the little guy, the coop or homeowner who has invested their life savings in their home, the average tax payer whose quality of life and property values are being threatened while the laws of this great city fail to protect them. It is naive to think that 485 students can reside where perhaps 30 or 40 lived before and not affect the infrastructure of this mature community.

Maria & Louis
Jamaica Estates

Photo from St John's


Anonymous said...

Why did Jamaica Estates drag its feet all these years by turning down landmarking, and refusing downzoning in the area where this dorm is being built?

Ask the board of the Jamaica Estates Association why it was so important to get money from St. John's toward its security patrol at the expense of what was really important - the quality of life for residents, and the salvation of a community.

Too late, folks.

Anonymous said...

Boy if "the good Father"
doesn't look like everything that's gone wrong
with the Catholic Church in recent years!

Make way for a new Presbyterian convert!

Anonymous said...

Who was blaming Frankie Padavan? Is there something else we should know?

Anonymous said...

SJU has the kids going after him.

georgetheatheist said...

Going to St.John's University ("The Club") is like attending the 13th, 14th, 15, and 16th year of High School.

Anonymous said...

Anon # 1 sounds conceited and full of himself. No wonder why nobody in J.E. paid him any mind when he suggested they landmark the community.

If he'd learned some social skills and had toned down his ego perhaps they might've heeded his advice.

So let him blame himself for the Estates approaching ruin.

Anonymous said...

Now that priestly pedophilia has been exposed, the new perversion will be lying to the community.

But, for either perversion, community destruction is the objective.

Anonymous said...

How could a faith based institution and Father Harrington act in such a cold and calculated way in bring destruction to this residential community? Can you imagine a six story, 485-bed dorm right on the backyard and front lawns of residential homes? Shame on you "fathr" Harrington and St. John's University. Have you no conscience?

Anonymous said...

Pick up a copy of this weeks Queens Chronicle or Tribune and read the Student Union Presiden's letter to the editor.He blasts Senator Padavan for disclosing the schools incident report as well as community members for opposing the dormitory project. Blame the victim to the max!
PS The reported violations at the St. John's campus dormitories between January 2003 and December 2006 are as follows:
Liquor Law Violations -1029
Drug Law violation-148
Aggravated Assault-!
If you add these statistics to the infrastructure and quality of life issues that plague this project why should the community be anything but angry.If SJU can't maintain a safe environment in a campus setting what can we expect from an off site dormitory.

Anonymous said...

I moved back to Jamaica Estates after years in the city to enjoy the trees, birds and crickets (yes, crickets). There are 8 female pharmacy students renting next door, plus their friends, boyfriends and all their cars. The renters try hard, and are very concerned, but cannot control the noise and congestion, especially on weekends. If I wanted to live on a city street corner I would have stayed in Manhattan. As it is, I must keep all windows closed and TRY to sleep with a white noise machine. Multiply this by 60 for the Henley dorm? UNFATHOMABLE If St. John's needs dorm space, they should level every lawn and raise every flower bed on their campus proper, then build (legally or illegally) to their hearts content---including adequate parking. If that can't be done, then Father Harington should accept the fact that they have grown as big as they can and not attempt to annex the surrounding communities.

Anonymous said...

Not on board with the Catholic Bashing, keep that to yourselves Klansmen.

As for SJU & the Henley Estates Dorm, this is as true a case of NIMBY if I ever saw one. Residents love that the University drives up property value, and you can bet your bippy it does, but they don't like the students. You cannot have one without the other. Tell this to the businesses that prosper like crazy in the area with 16000 bodies roaming around week-to-week.

It is understandable, but life is like this. You buy a place next to a large urban university and expect it to be--what--a monastery? Chances are, for most of those "outraged" home owners, SJU was there long before they were.

Also, regarding those crime stats. Your telling me, that over a 3 year period, they had that little crime? Your stats don't point out just who committed the crime, much of which comes from without the SJU campus. As far as large Universities go, SJU is very near the bottom in crime stats. That dog don't hunt.

I happen to live near those new dorms. The building is better, upkeep wise, than the surrounding homes! Just the same, I hope SJU resolves any problems neighbors might have.