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Glendale residents raise concerns about public safety, cannabis and migrant crisis at community forum

Nov. 20, 2023 By Anthony Medina

About a dozen residents, along with officers from the 104th Precinct, turned out on Nov. 16 for a community meeting in Glendale to voice their concerns about crime, a local housing shelter and illegal cannabis dispensaries.

The meeting, held inside the Brewery Keenan Heiser Post 1815 on Cooper Avenue, was the last of the year for the Glendale Property Owners and members sought answers on issues such as an uptick in robberies as well as problems at a housing shelter on Cooper Avenue. Several elected officials or their representatives were also in attendance. 

Two officers from the precinct addressed the robbery spike. 

The officers told the attendees that many of the robberies are being committed by scooter riders along Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood. The cops said the problem bleeds into Glendale and surrounding areas and is an issue they are looking to address.

Residents also voiced their concern about violence at the Cooper Avenue shelter and called on police to address it. The members discussed the arrest of a shelter resident who allegedly hit an individual over the head with a bottle last month, and further emphasized how the shelter has been a problem since it opened in 2020.

One property owner called on the officers to make an effort to attend other community and civic meetings moving forward, claiming that the precinct has been absent in community board meetings this year. 

Conversations sparked by residents later into the meeting broached the topics of illegal smoke shops, cannabis dispensaries, the migrant crisis and Mayor Eric Adams’ ‘City of Yes’ housing initiative.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr, a common face at the Glendale meeting, also fielded questions from residents who expressed their concerns about a plethora of issues.

Residents said they felt burdened by the migrant crisis and shared their frustrations with him on the city’s handling of it. They were concerned about the cost to the city of housing the asylum seekers. 

Addabbo recognized their frustrations and said the burden should rest on the federal government. He also said the housing of migrants is also just a “drop in the water” in terms of what resources are needed to take care of the new arrivals.

“I think right now, because the mayor is getting no help whatsoever, really from the federal government — which I think has really, really dropped the ball for New York and for us,” Addabbo said, “I do think that the mayor’s in a panic mode and doesn’t know how to handle a national crisis that’s falling on our shoulders.”

Addabbo thanked the Property Owners Association, fellow elected leaders and the 104th Precinct, especially, for their work regarding moped riders and helping to improve the community.

Council Member Joann Ariola, whose south Queens district goes as far north as Woodhaven, shared similar sentiments on the migrant crisis as Addabbo.

She also broached the issues surrounding the state’s rollout of legal adult-use cannabis dispensaries — another big topic of discussion for the night. 

Property owners spoke on the recent applications filed for legal adult-use cannabis dispensaries in Maspeth and Glendale and how they believe that their placement in the community only exacerbates the problems with access to cannabis products. Three applications are pending, which the Community Board 5 opposed earlier this month in a non-binding vote.

The attendees also were concerned about the number of illegal shops selling weed.

Ariola talked about her bill, which was co-sponsored with Council Member Lynn Schulman, that punishes landlords who knowingly rent space to shops selling cannabis illegally. She also discussed how the process to legalize cannabis dispensaries was rushed. 

“The state rolled out a whole cannabis program a little too quickly,” Ariola said. “Then they tried to pull back a little bit. That’s why we saw there were no licenses being given out, but it’s still not as tight as it should be.” 

Ariola also went after the ‘City of Yes’ in her remarks, which aims to increase the city’s housing stock, based on community concerns that it could alter their quality of life. 

 “We can’t even afford the City of Yes,” Ariola said. 

Representatives from the officers of Council Member Robert Holden and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez were recognized by property owners for attending the meeting, which was the organization’s last of the year. The meeting ended with a reminder from the Kiwanis Club of Glendale about the Christmas Tree Lighting on Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Glendale Veterans Triangle.

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