About 50 people turned out for an impromptu meeting of the Douglaston Civic Association last week to express their fears that a new home may be built in the backyard of a recently subdivided property on Depew Avenue.
Elliott Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association, did not give an exact address for the Depew Avenue property in question but said he was aware of the community's concerns.
One of the men who attended the meeting said the house on the property was on the sales block for about $800,000 and the lot was being offered separately for $450,000, but this could not be confirmed because the location of the parcel was not disclosed publicly.
Several properties in Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck have been subdivided in recent years to allow developers to build multiple homes on lots that used to feature a single home and a backyard.
Residents living near Beechknoll Avenue and Marathon Parkway in Little Neck protested when three homes were built on the same corner property in June 2000 across the street from Aunt Bella's restaurant. At the time, residents of Beechknoll Avenue suggested developers were plotting to create three-family homes in an area that was not zoned for that type of housing.
At the unplanned public meeting in the Douglaston Community Church Jan. 23 Socci said a recent reinterpretation of the city zoning laws has allowed developers to find new places to build homes. Socci emphasized that any attempt to alter those laws may take years.
As those in attendance questioned the legality of building a new home in what used to be a backyard where it would have limited access to the street, one man said he would like to buy the property for himself.
"I would like to buy the lot and get a nice big yard," the man said. "The house was on the market for $799,000 and the lot was being sold for $450,000."
The man said he had made an offer on the backyard property but not received a response.
A spokeswoman for City Councilman Mike Abel's (D-Bayside) office said she had not received any recent complaints about subdivided properties.
"I can understand their fears," spokeswoman Christine Vartanian said. "But if it falls within zoning, there's not much you can do about it."
Vartanian said that while there was no direct proof of imminent construction at the Depew Avenue property, Abel's office would continue to monitor the site.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2001 Community News Group
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