District 24, village spar over development


District 24 officials say their schools have enough space to accommodate children from two major housing projects under construction in the village. But not three.

At Monday night’s village board meeting, Board of Education President Tony Iadevaio expressed concerns about plans to build a second phase of Sun Valley Towers, a mixed-use development under construction at the corner of Sunrise Highway and Rockaway Avenue. After reading about the proposal in last week’s Herald, Iadevaio said he wanted to find out from the village board exactly what was in the works.

“We will not have room for an additional phase,” he said. The project under construction now will have retail on the first floor and four stories of apartments above, totaling 72 units when it is completed. Most of the apartments will have one or two bedrooms, but a few will have three.

The developer has unveiled a plan to construct a second building behind the first, with retail on the first floor, along Rockaway Avenue, and five stories of apartments above. That would require purchasing 10 lots, which include homes, businesses and apartments.

“We haven’t received a formal proposal,” said Mayor Ed Fare. “Any proposal that comes to us — and we’ve received dozens — we’ll consider it.”

Fare countered that instead of stifling development, the school districts should look at other ways to accommodate students. He suggested district consolidation, often a touchy subject in Valley Stream. Fare noted that Forest Road School in District 30, in the Mill Brook neighborhood bordering the west end of District 24, has some of the smallest class sizes of any of Valley Stream’s 10 elementary schools.

According to District 30’s March 18 enrollment report, Forest Road has 295 students in its 14 regular education classes, an average of 21 students per class, with a low of 16 in first grade and a high of 26 in sixth grade. Fare suggested that the districts consider moving boundaries, but acknowledged that that would require a public vote.

“That’s not a viable option,” Iadevaio said.

“I think it’s a more viable option than rejecting families from moving into our village,” Fare shot back. “I will go on record, I want families here.”

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