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April 4, 2008

Queens Civic Congress Report On Zoning

Received Via Email:

In order to help share information about civic activities in our area I am submitting the following report:

The QCC (Queens Civic Congress) Zoning zoning meeting held on Monday, March 31, at the Kew Gardens Community Center was very exciting and educational. Beverly McDermott and Joe Amoroso represented the KPCA. The Zoning Panel was made up of Henry Euler from Auburndale Civic, professional urban planner Paul Graziano, Sandra Atwell, President, Hollis 11423 Block Association, Paul DiBenedetto, President, Bayside Civic Database, John Young, Queens Director of City Planning and Mayoral candidate Councilman Tony Avella. The meeting, moderated by Sean M. Walsh, Esq., QCC Founder, was well attended by many civics with about 100 people filling the room.

Queens Director of City Planning John Young became the obvious target for the long delay that many neighborhoods are experiencing in their quest to get rezoned. John explained that the recent outburst of those objecting to down zoning has slowed the process significantly. It remains important that those seeking to preserve their neighborhoods stay strong in opposing those resisting zoning improvements for the sake of immediate financial gain. Tony Avella strongly urged City Planning to get back on track because many neighborhoods are years beyond the dates promised by City Planning for their rezoning. He understood that City Planning needs more staff but his recent efforts to acquire additional funds for staffing were not successful. Pat Dolan, QCC Executive Vice President, suggested that more zoning classifications are needed, especially one related to single-family row houses. After each panelist spoke the floor was opened for questions from the various civic groups resulting in a barrage of lively discussions. Although many civics had an opportunity to speak there were many who could not because of time constraints. The representative from Holly Civic did not get to speak but did approach the panel after the meeting to indicate that he strongly opposed City Planning's zoning proposal for the Holly Civic area and requested to be removed from the rezoning process if it wasn't changed to his satisfaction.

QCC President Corey Bearak, noted that in some areas that have been rezoned there is still some out-of -character construction in progress with DOB permits that should not be approved under the new zoning regulations. All of the panelists agreed that the citizens and civics must be on alert to protest the issuance of permits issued by the DOB in error. Enforcement can only be accomplished by caring citizens.

Joe Amoroso, KPCA Zoning Chair