You are reading

City Planning Commission to Hold Hearing on Jail Plan Wednesday, Follows Split Borough President Opinions

The Queens Detention Center, located at 126-02 82nd Ave., was decommissioned in 2002. The City plans to demolish the facility and build a new jail on the site (Photo: Queens Post).

July 8, 2019 By Shane O’Brien

The City Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing on the New York City borough-based jail system proposal on Wednesday.

The plan is now being reviewed by the City Planning Commission having been rejected by four Community Boards and the Queens and Bronx Borough Presidents. The Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer announced her support for the plan Friday, while the Brooklyn Borough President has yet to render an opinion.

The hearing, which will take place at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice at 10 a.m., is part of the CPC review process, the second to last step required before the City can move forward with the plan. Should the CPC approve it, the fate of the proposal would then rest with the City Council.

The controversial plan, announced by the mayor last year, calls for the closure of Rikers Island and the construction of four borough-based jails—one in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx—in its place.

The proposal recommends that the Queens jail be built in Kew Gardens—on the site of the now dormant Queens Detention Complex at 126-02 82nd Ave. Many Queens residents oppose it, with Queens Community Board 9 rejecting the plan on May 14 by a vote of 28-0. 

The plan, filed as one ULURP application, is undergoing public review since it requires a series of rezonings and other land use changes before it can move forward.

The public hearing provides residents with an opportunity to speak before the City Planning Commission, which will make a final decision on the plan within 60 days.

While the decisions made by the Borough Presidents and Community Boards are advisory, the CPC’s determination is binding. The CPC is also able to approve the plan with modifications.

In most ULURP applications, a proposal requires seven affirmative votes from the 13 members of the CPC to pass the CPC Review stage. However, since at least two Borough Presidents have rejected the proposal, it is likely to require nine affirmative votes to pass.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, while advocating for the closure of Rikers Island, rejected the proposal on the grounds that the new jail in Kew Gardens would be too big for the area. She also noted that the jail population was declining and that the size of the proposed jail needed to be reevaluated.

The application calls for the closure of Rikers Island by 2027 and for it to be replaced by four borough jails, each with a capacity of 1,437 inmates. The plan is premised on the jail population dropping to about 5,000 by 2027. The inmate population was about 9,400 when the plan was first being formed in 2017.

Since the ULURP was filed, the City has announced that the number of cells needed at each facility would only need to be 1,150. The reduction, the City says, stems from a lower crime rate and criminal justice reforms.

Plans for the Kew Gardens jail (City Planning Commission)

email the author: [email protected]

17 Comments

Bill Sidis

Exactly what notice gets sent to local residents of these hearings? NONE. The lobbying jail group gets notices direct and one has to wonder if they have jobs or most are on public assistance so that wasting an entire day is no problem for them. And if you’ve been to any of the hearings, these people are given first chance to speak so it is usually hours until any local person affected has a chance to talk.

Let’s be honest. This is just a charade and it’s why the Mayor’s office didn’t care one iota to prioritize neighborhood residents. All the city council members who won’t have jails in their district are voting for this EVEN IF IT IS THE DISASTER PLAN THAT IT IS! As long as it’s not in their neighborhood, it’s a yes vote. Costa Constantinides already has a bill passed to develop Riker’s Island and there isn’t even a contract or ink on it. Everyone in the area knows what a HUGE MESS the Kew Gardens location is but it will be someone else’s horror show in 6-10 years (and then indefinitely.) The city council members will get praise initially and will have long stepped to another area of higher government when the taxpayers have to bail out this disaster that will make Riker’s look like a picnic.

Reply
hart

The hearing was a fiasco.
Kew Garden/Forest Hills activists opposing the closing of Rikers were absent.
The room was flooded out with “close down Rikers” people (suspected on the dole from developers). They loudly heckled, and were frankly scary.
Only 1 or 2 people spoke against the Rikers closing (including that wonderful lady from the Bronx).
This gave the media and the Commission the false impression that closing is the popular choice.
The premise for closing is heavily flawed.
Basically, Rikers should be closed down because it is presently inhumane in dire need of an overhaul. Then fire the present staff and do an overhaul. Oh but it can’t be overhauled because these criminals need to be close proximity to their families. But their families aren’t in Kew Gardens, are they. And why not, as Lasak suggested, improve transportation to and from Rikers.
Oh but you can’t. And it’s just horrible, inhumane. I was there, ooh ooh ooh. We’re human too. The only solution is letting all the criminals out loose on the streets, till we realize so many innocent people are being raped and murdered, that is not a solution. By then Rikers will be full of swanky condos. So we’ll have no choice but to expand the Kew Gardens facility to a 40 story jail tower.
Great performance. Where was everybody?

10
2
Reply
KG resident

At 10am, people were probably at work. I’ll admit I haven’t read this site in a few weeks but this is the first I’m hearing about the hearing. Unfortunately had to be at work at that time anyway but maybe a family member could have gone.

Reply
Bill Sidis

Most people were working or had no clue the hearing was going on at 10am. The Close Rikers people are connected. Many probably don’t have full time jobs too. Always there early and say “we are against it generally… but we support the jail – with conditions.” And they flood the speaking opportunities – even though they concede they aren’t local although they live in the borough – so that actual residents must wait an hour to be heard. Wake up. This is all a charade. All the members of the city council are voting yes, even for this disastrous taxpayer boondoggle since the jail won’t be in their district.

And if you look at the evaluations, they are phony. These megajails won’t significantly affect the aesthetic, the local traffic, etc.? Even the map of Kew Gardens isn’t accurate, not highlighting that the area around the jail is landlocked a a total disaster to access the parking area. This is a charade. That’s why the City isn’t having a conversation. They sit quietly letting you scream to the wall and they never have an actual dialogue.

Reply
Mac

Kew Gardens and Forest Hills have already paid more than their share. How many inmates come from zip codes 11415, 11418, 11367 & 11375? The DeBlasio administration loves to play the zip code game when it comes to forcing shelters and other projects on neighborhoods that don’t generate any of residents of the shelters or the inmates in the jails. Put the facilities in the zip codes that create the inmates and homeless. Last I read was something like 13 zip codes in NYC were the “zip code of origin” for the overwhelming majority of inmates in NY state prisons. Put the jails in these zip codes at least the inmates will be closer to relatives.

21
Reply
Where is the outrage?

Just amazed at the low number of comments. Lots of complaints about the homeless man who exposed himself hanging out on 71st St. It seems that Forest Hills Forest Hills Gardens residents don’t really care if their neighbors are getting a jail in Kew Gardens. Never mind once it’s built Kew Gardens will have the the increased police presence. Not so sure about Forest Hills and Rego Park. Good luck to homeowners in those areas. Don’t like what’s happening with increased numbers of beggars and mentally unstable homeless in the area get ready for hard core criminals waiting trial and their visiting friends and family near your homes and your children schools.

17
1
Reply
hart

No worries.
Forest Hills residents are not only concerned, they are in panic mode.

Reply
Fore$tBills

It seems the individuals in this area who pay the taxes, own the businesses and contribute the most have the least power in this decision.

18
21
Reply
Sarah

Who will be paying for all this when hard-working Middle Class tax paying citizens leave the City for safer havens? Too many dangerous regressive leftists in New York killing Our opportunities for employment and our dreams for a safe New York.

14
30
Reply
I love when Trump lovers pretend to care about the middle class

That’s why you voted for the celebrity billionaire living in a gold tower with his name on it while he gives massive tax breaks to the rich, right? lmao

17
6
Reply
jb

Sarah, these are not “leftists.”
There is a cottage industry of groups hired to pose as progressives fighting for a “cause” – which just coincidentally, happens to be the same cause as big business.
We’ve seen this on several occasions around the city this year.

Reply
hart

Good old Melinda! So she’ll settle for a “smaller” jail? Oh, that’s right, she’s for closing down Rikers. Just like the developers who gave her $$$ for her da run.
Forest Hills is already seeing an uptick of crime since the Mayor’s homeless shelter in Kew Gardens – which seems to house quite a few mentally ill residents. Wonder how pleasant it will be when gang bangers visit their buddies in the new jail?
And why aren’t our family neighborhoods given consideration by our Mayor?

23
22
Reply
Michael Boylan

Katz is a do-nothing Boro President. Who bows to the Queens Demorat machine and Mayor DeBullsio wishes. Why waste money building a new jail to make the area even worse? Close Rikers only because of real estate developers & LaGuardia runway expansion?

4
18
Reply
Diane Hendry

The public hearing provides residents with an opportunity to speak before the City Planning Commission, which will make a final decision on the plan within 60 days.

7
1
Reply
One tired person

And you think this will have an impact on a decision already made?

1
11
Reply
jb

I think we need an investigation to find out whose money is behind the screaming, intimidating, sign carrying “close Rikers” gang.
And hold them, and all city officials voting for this obvious fiasco, accountable for all the rapes, robberies, murders and public victimization that are inevitable when this goes through.
I think we could start by putting the Mayor on trial for victimizing the families of Kew Gardens and Forest Hills, with threatening mentally ill males, under the false premise of helping sweet, homeless families.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News