There is a neighborhood threat on the horizon and it involves the possibility of a homeless shelter at the Cooper Avenue Underpass in Glendale. This is what we know so far.
The site is located at 78-16 Cooper Avenue and is owned by Wilner Realty Management LLC. Michael Wilner is an owner and the property manager. He has confirmed that he has been in contact with a Not-for-Profit agency that runs homeless shelters.
The “threat” is not imminent because the NYC Department of Homeless Services has a legal process that can take weeks and possibly months to come to fruition and the local community board must be notified before the process begins. Thus far CB5 has not received any notification.
The property in question is zoned M1-1 which is designed for manufacturing. This zoning designation is meant to bring economic opportunity and services to the community but, here’s the problem, the land use law allows for hotels. NYC, in its uncanny way of straying from what is right to what is convenient, has allowed the use of homeless shelters in M1-1 zoned areas. The Juniper Park Civic Association feels that this practice clearly violates the spirit of the M1-1 zone and any attempt at twisting this zoning interpretation to accommodate a homeless shelter will be fought at every level.
Keep in mind that homeless shelters, no matter how we want to help the unfortunate among us, are inhabited by pedophiles, drug addicts and mentally challenged individuals who really need medical help more than warehousing in homeless shelters where they are abused unmercifully.
The one heartening fact about the threat is that the owner, Michael Wilner is willing to show the 70,000 square feet space to interested buyers in the open market.
This is what is known so far, rest assured that any attempt to put a homeless shelter at this site will be fought vehemently. We work too hard to keep our neighborhood a comfortable and productive community and accommodating homeless shelters is not on the JPCA “to do” list! – Lorraine Sciulli