Sept. 19, 2019 By Allie Griffin
At a Community Board 5 meeting in Middle Village last night, one planned shelter was highly contested, while another was highly praised and approved.
While a planned shelter for 200 men experiencing homelessness at 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale was the topic of tension at the meeting last night, a planned shelter for 170 animals in need of homes at 151 Woodward Ave. in Ridgewood was easily approved.
The Zoning and Land Use Review Committee of Community Board 5 held a public hearing on the proposed animal shelter on Sept. 4 where no one testified in opposition and last night at its monthly meeting, the community board held a vote on the proposal.
“We held a hearing in Ridgewood, 25 people showed up for a shelter at 151 Woodward Avenue and we’re gonna ask you to vote in favor of this shelter for pets,” Vice Chair of Land Use Walter Clayton said, holding up his index finger while speaking the last two words.
Board members voted in favor of Animal Care Centers of NYC’s new Queens location which is scheduled to open in summer 2022.
The 50,000 square foot shelter will house about 100 cats and 70 dogs, Clayton said. There will be parking for more than 50 vehicles.
While the board praised the shelter, members asked Animal Care Centers for two conditions. First, the board asked that they “coordinate adequate acoustical design into the interior” to ensure barking cannot be heard outside the building and second, that they install street trees outside the property.
The shelter is coming to Queens after City Council Member Paul Vallone sponsored a bill that mandates each borough must have a full-service animal shelter. It was signed into law last year.
However, before 151 Woodward Avenue can become a temporary home for animals, it must be cleaned from years of environmental pollution. It currently houses a scrap yard and auto shop and the land is contaminated with toxins that seeped into the soil over the years.
“The [state] is funding a clean up of this contaminated site,” Clayton said. “Basically for 70 years, it’s been an auto-wrecking place and it’s quite contaminated.”
Since 1962, the site was used as an auto junkyard and as a result, metal and petroleum contaminants seeped into the land. According to the State Department of Environmental Conservation, arsenic, barium and mercury are among a long list of hazardous compounds found at 151 Woodward Ave.
The land will be cleaned through the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program before it becomes a shelter.