By James Farrell
Fresh Meadows residents are sounding off against a daycare center that is proposed to be developed in their neighborhood.
The Great Sunshine Daycare, slated for 172-03 67th Ave., will create chaotic traffic patterns and safety issues for the residential community as parents of as many as 282 children rush to drop off their children, residents said at a Nov. 3 press conference with state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
“Parents come, they park illegally, they drop off their kids—sometimes they park in somebody’s driveway, sometimes they double-park or they pull into the site,” Avella said. “Imagine 282 parents, 282 cars.
Nobody’s against a daycare center in principle, but the city of New York should be making sure that these types of facilities go in appropriate locations.”
Traffic in the area is already hectic during school dismissal times with PS 173 just a few blocks away, and the new daycare could cut into property values of the surrounding homes, Avella argued.
Currently, the daycare’s future is uncertain. The facility can be legally built at the property under the current zoning for the area, according to the city’s Department of Buildings. A permit was issued on Feb. 3, but an audit of the project led to a notice to revoke the permit on Nov. 1. The agency took issue with the daycare’s planned placement of a driveway and rooftop recreation area, a spokesman said.
To proceed, the owner—listed on the DOB website as Michael Tang—must revise the plans in accordance with the agency’s requirements. A woman who answered the phone at Tang’s law firm told the Queens Tribune that she declined to comment.
Residents at the press conference were unaware that the permit had been revoked, according to Bill Anello, president of the Flushing Heights Civic Association. However, he was aware of the DOB’s audit.
“We’re definitely happy, but we’ve got to make sure that he can’t do something to change it to still get the building,” Anello said. “We want to try and get him to sell the property.”
Meanwhile, residents’ concerns about the property persist.
Robert Agnello, also of the Flushing Heights Civic Association, said that he is concerned about children’s safety. With a sharp increase in both cars and children, he said that he is concerned about the hazards facing children crossing the streets. And he’s worried that children will partake of daycare activities in the incoming building’s cellar—a fire hazard that the FDNY should investigate, he said.
“Who represents these kids?” Agnello said. “I guess it’ll be Flushing Heights Civic Association that’ll represent these kids.”
There was little notice of the daycare within the community, residents said, with only a handful of neighbors receiving a flyer announcing that it would be coming.
Avella said that he has met with the owner in the past month to try to get him to reconsider the location of the daycare. He suggested that the owner consider building two one-family homes at the site instead.
“He’ll make money,” Avella said of the counterproposal.
The senator acknowledged that there is a need for daycares in the community, but emphasized that the specific site was an inappropriate location. He said that he would be willing to “sit down and work with the community and the community board” to pitch alternative locations.
“There has to be a willingness on [the owner’s] side to have that conversation,” Avella said.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.