CB 18 butt heads with DEP over new digs

They got the rent money and the nod from City Hall. They even got the boxes.

But the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) seems less than thrilled about having Community Board 18 as tenants in their new Georgetowne facility.

So said CB 18 District Manager Dottie Turano as she gave board members another gloomy update on their proposed move from a converted apartment in the Glenwood Houses to the new DEP-controlled state-of-the-art building on Bergen Avenue near the agency’s new combined sewer overflow (CSO) retention facility.

Turano told board members that the city’s office of management and budget recently approved the higher rent allocation for their new digs which has been rumored at being upwards of $5,000 a month — much more than the simple utility bills they currently pay at the Glenwood Houses (Turano refrained from coining the exact amount).

Yet despite the approval, the DEP still “doesn’t want us there,” Turano said.

“If we don’t get a key, we’re going in there with a locksmith to move in there,” she joked, adding that the members may be contacted to help in the emergency move.

When contacted Friday, Turano admitted that there is an ongoing “battle” with the DEP to open a new CB 18 office in their building.

“We’re not budging,” she said, adding that the new offices will be an immense improvement over what they currently have.

“Here there is no community access,” Turano explained, adding that when the board first opened in the Glenwood Houses, they used to keep their door open (the building they’re in at 5715 Avenue H is usually locked), but few residents would walk in.

The new facility is not only more inviting but has a small parking lot, Turano said, envisioning CB 18 committee meetings being held in the new offices. Currently, committees either meet wherever they can or before the general board meeting.

“The community access at the new spot is wonderful,” she said. “We’re locked in at our current space.”

The DEP has repeatedly delayed their move, Turano said. Most recently they said that no one could move into the facility until the street around the office is paved.

A DEP spokesperson would not entertain Turano’s claims about the ongoing inter-agency tug of war over the facility.

“This is a major capital program and the entire development is under construction,” the spokesperson said. “The safety and health of residents is our first priority. Right now the area is not suited for the public.”

The board’s new home is part of a $345 million plan for the retention facility as well as the construction of a 20-million-gallon underground storage tank and upgrades to the pumping station at Ralph and Flatlands Avenues.

The Board is expected to be located in a new 4,000-square-foot building that will also house several DEP offices.