NEW YORK (Dec. 16)
The Queens Council of B’nai B’rith endorsed today the national policy of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith in support of “the principle of low and moderate income scatter-site housing” and asked that it be applied to the controversial 840-unit project now underway in Forest Hills, Queens, subject “to the character and needs of the community.” The Council, made up of 72 B’nai B’rith lodges and chapters in the borough, including a number in the Forest Hills area, voted by almost 4-1 in favor of the ADL’s policy.
Seymour Reich, Council president, said his group will ask the ADL’s New York board to seek local implementation of its national policy on the basis of community needs. These are the provisions of additional educational and public facilities in the area and a reduction of the height and size of the federally financed project which presently calls for the construction of three 24-story apartment buildings to accommodate 840 families.
Reich said the officers of the Queens Council will “utilize their best efforts to accomplish the foregoing and will seek broad community support to allay tensions and fears.” The project has aroused bitter opposition among a majority of Forest Hills residents, a predominantly Jewish area. Opponents contend that the project would drastically alter the character of the neighborhood by introducing low income families, the consequences of which they say will be an increased rate of crime and congestion of already overburdened schools and transportation facilities.
The ADL’s policy in favor of scatter-site low income housing was adopted last month by the agency’s national commission. It reaffirmed the ADL’s support of integrated housing and urged federal, state and city governments to “continue to implement low and moderate income scatter-site public housing programs.”
Lawrence Peirez, chairman of the ADL’s national fact-finding committee said at the time that the national policy would be implemented by the ADL’s local boards. Reich said it was the Queens Council’s intention to work “closely and constructively with housing authorities, local officials, community residents and all other interested parties in seeing the project come to fruition.” He urged Mayor John V. Lindsay to confer with community leaders so that differences may be resolved and the project become acceptable to the community.