Sep. 14, 2023 By Anthony Medina
The Community Board 9 meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12, held inside of Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, set the tone for the remainder of the general meetings to come this year. A packed agenda for the night kept members informed of past events over the summer break and what residents could expect to come from legislators this year.
Councilwoman Lynn Schulman, representing the neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill, was the only legislator in attendance Tuesday night and updated board members on the key concerns shared with her office before the September meeting.
Schulman was the lead sponsor of legislation passed in August, which holds landlords accountable for renting out their storefronts to illegal unlicensed smoke shops. Schulman also shared her opposition to a federal monitor at Rikers Island, based on fears of a lack of communication with elected officials.
“If that happens, it’s not clear whether government-based jobs will be part of that,” Schulman said, who also sits on the New York City Council Committee for Criminal Justice. “The reason I’m raising that is that when a federal monitor takes over Rikers, no elected official has any say over what goes on at Rikers Island — only the federal monitor will make that determination.”
To update the board on the latest efforts to rid the streets of illegal smoke shops, 102nd Precinct Commanding Officer, Captain Jeremy Kivlin, said officers successfully closed five smoke shops along Jamaica Avenue over the past two months, with three more pending permanent closure. Kivlin warned that some smoke shops that are closed after being caught illegally selling cannabis wind up opening in other parts of the borough.
A smoke shop in Richmond Hill where a 20-year-old employee was shot and killed during an armed robbery in March was forced to shut down for a second time over the summer.
The Queens District Attorney’s office also shared information pertaining to the joint effort with the New York City Sheriff’s office and NYPD over the illegal sale of cannabis products. Since March, 11 individuals caught and prosecuted for selling illegal cannabis products were located in the confines of the 102nd Precinct, the Queens DA’s office shared.
Over 50 pounds of cannabis products, hundreds of packages of cannabis, vapes and other cannabis products were seized from shops in the confines of the 102nd Precinct, a Queens DA official added. All agencies involved are committed to continuing the crackdown on illegal smoke shops.
During the committee report portion of the night, the Parks, Recreation & Environment Committee Chair, J. Richard Smith, shared a resolution to have a pickleball court installed on a portion of the tennis courts near Park Lane South and 90th Street in Woodhaven. The board voted to approve the proposed resolution with only five votes against it.
Moving forward, before the end of the board meeting, members agreed to move the portion of the night where the Recognition of Officials Representatives is conducted. Members said it takes too much time away from public forums and other agenda items that are discussed too far into the meeting.
Community Board 9 represents the neighborhoods of Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park.