Youth Services and Education Committee Statement on Peninsula Hospital

Statement on Peninsula Hospital Redevelopment Project:

The Community Board 14 Youth Services and Education committee met
on Tuesday, June 4th for the purpose of discussing and evaluating the
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) published by the Department of
City Planning. The report pertains to the redevelopment of the Peninsula
Hospital Site. The lead agency for the analysis was the City Planning
Commission.
Review of the report revealed that there are unavoidable adverse impacts
projected to impact local elementary and intermediate schools as well as
unavoidable adverse impacts to publicly funded child care and head start
programs. These are documented on pages 22-23 and pages 43-44 of the
EIS. Overcrowding of these impacted schools and childcare centers
would be inevitable and would compound existing problems with
overcrowded schools struggling to meet educational benchmarks in

Math, English Language Arts, and Science. The adverse relationship
between classroom overcrowding and learning progress is well
understood. Programs aimed at reducing classroom size to improve
student achievement in Rockaway schools have been in progress for
several years. The Environmental Impact Study clearly states that the
Peninsula hospital development in its current form would result in a
severe impact to local schools through overcrowding.

The report gives two remedies for these projected adverse impacts:
1. To increase seat capacity by expansion or reallocation of existing
space and/or construction of new school and childcare space. This
remedy would be applicable towards the three areas which would
sustain significant adverse impacts: elementary schools, intermediate
schools and child care centers within the impact zone of the
Peninsula Hospital redevelopment site.

2. Alternatively, the report states that a reduction in the planned number
of dwelling units by 521 units or by 36% would scale back projections
to below the significant impact level.

The committee feels that in view of the significant challenges currently
facing schools in this area of Rockaway, including overcrowding,
limitations in educational programming and schools struggling to meet
standardized benchmarks, the burdens projected by the redevelopment
proposal in its current form are unacceptable. Furthermore, the DOE and
SCA are already behind schedule in meeting the demands for additional
school space and additional school programming options in all areas of
Rockaway. This record does not inspire confidence that such
improvements would be developed in line and in conjunction with the
current project proposal.

The committee consensus, therefore, is that the Community Board
should not support the Peninsula Hospital project in its current form.
The committee further recommends that discussion on the hospital
redevelopment site should commence with their Environmental Impact
Study’s own recommendation of a 36% reduction in size, and with the
additional stipulation that it include space or funding to increase school
and childcare capacity in the area which is already strained by a growing
population.

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