BY LUIS GRONDA
The Glendale-Middle Village Coalition is calling on the City to throw out a study done on the proposed Glendale homeless shelter site that said the area is safe to house a 125-family shelter.
The coalition has filed a lawsuit against the City of New York and the Dept. of Homeless Services to throw out the previous environmental impact statement that was made at the site earlier this year and to do a new study.
Back in July 2014, the Dept. of Homeless Services released a letter and a report saying that an environmental study done by AECOM USA found that the site at 78-16 Cooper Ave. is environmentally safe for the shelter and they would be moving forward with plans to build one there.
Several opponents of the shelter said the report was not done correctly and contained a lot of wrong information about the neighborhood, including the amount of open space available.
This lawsuit calls for the DHS and the City to throw out the study done by AECOM and conduct a brand new environmental impact statement on the site.
According to the suit, which was obtained by the Queens Tribune, the group wants the study thrown out because they did not take a “hard look” at whether or not the shelter would have at least one negative environmental impact on the neighborhood and did not provide a reason elaborating their findings.
“Instead, respondents simply rubber stamped an Environmental Assessment to Statement and Supplemental Studies prepared by an outside contractor that utterly failed to properly analyze whether or not a full environmental impact statement was required,” the lawsuit read.
According to the lawsuit, its intention is not to stop the shelter altogether. It is asking DHS and the City to take what they believe is a better look at the site and analyze the impact a shelter could have on the community before deciding whether or not to move forward with building the facility.
Among what the 23-page suit calls “myriad factual errors and inadequate analysis” is that the shelter would have an insignificant impact on available open space in the area, even though they say the shelter would bring 500 residents to a building that is currently vacant and at least 35 employees would work at the facility.
The suit also says the previous study stated that there are 171 acres of open space in the area surrounding the vacant building, but 153 of the acres are cemeteries that are not open to the public.
Since the coalition was formed last month, they have been fundraising to hire a lawyer to put together the lawsuit that they announced on Wednesday. The group hired Long Island-based lawyer Christopher Murray to represent them in the case.
When reached by email, a DHS spokesperson said they could not comment on any pending or proposed litigation, but the agency stands by their report. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office has not responded to a request for comment regarding the lawsuit.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, email@example.com or @luisgronda.