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The Civic Scene: Civic explains zoning for one-family district

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The October 2001 newsletter of the Holliswood Civic Association contained an interesting article on zoning by the association’s vice president, Richard Anron. He explained that Holliswood is zoned R2, as are many but not all areas of Queens, with one-family homes. An R2 zone permits only single-family detached residences on a minimum lot of 3,800 square feet with a 40-foot minimum width. The maximum floor area of the house is one half the area of the lot.

The rear area of the house must be 30 feet from the property line and the front yard must be a minimum of 15 feet. The side yards should total 13 feet and each side must be a minimum of 5 feet. Where the property is an odd shape there are various considerations that are taken into account by the Building Department. Houses built before Holliswood was designated R2 may not conform to the R2 standards. Other communities which are zoned say R3-2, R4 or R5 can have larger buildings even if there are one-family houses on surrounding property.

If you have questions, please call Community Board 8 at 591-6000 or the Queens Office of the Building Department.

Another concern of civic associations is the plague of graffiti marring the streets and walls of our neighborhoods. Those associations that have written about the actions they have taken to remove graffiti are: the Jamaica Estates Association, the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, the Holliswood Civic Association, the West Cunningham Park Civic Association and the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association.

Some civics buy paint or get it from the post office, the parks department or some other group and then have volunteers cover the graffiti. Others hire people to remove it, which can be expensive but it gets the community cleaned. Some civics queried the Queens District Attorney's Office for the names of convicted graffiti vandals, who then had to perform 80 hours of community service removing graffiti. I used this method to clean Union Turnpike and Cunningham Park several years ago.

In another approach to eliminating unsightly graffiti, one area in Westchester held property owners responsible for the clean-up. In its January 2002 newsletter, the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association wrote about the city of Yonkers, which passed legislation giving property owners 30 days to clean their graffiti-marked property, or the city of Yonkers would clean the vandalized areas and bill and fine the owners $1,000. This ordinance has been in existence for two years and has eliminated most of Yonkers’ graffiti. Paul Kerzner, president of the civic association, attempted to get our city and borough administrations to have this law passed in New York City but they did not take any action. Perhaps something can be done this year; if you agree, please contact your legislators.

In other issues, the December 2001 newsletter of the Rocky Hill Civic Association complained about the size of the 7-pound, 4-inch-thick Verizon phone book. If you are unhappy with yours, please write Verizon Communications, 1095 Avenue of the Americas, 36th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10036, or call (212) 395-2121.

The February 2002 newsletter of the Douglaston Civic Association said that the Department of Sanitation has decided to reinstate the 18 inch law. The law requires property owners or renters to clean the street up to 18 inches from the curb, so please clean your gutters.

The December 2001 newsletter of the Jamaica Estates Association informed its members that Community Board 8 has copies of “On the Go,” the 246-page guide to cultural institutions in New York City. For a copy, please call CB 8 at 591-6000.

GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK

For years, perhaps decades, the United States government has fought the importation of drugs into our country from Afghanistan, Columbia, and areas in Asia such as the Iron Triangle. It is a multibillion dollar industry and finances criminal families in the United States. During the Vietnam War, high government officials cashed in on the drug trade while our men died. Criminals kill each other to obtain the markets on our cities’ streets and the mob bribes whomever it must so it can continue selling drugs. This is deteriorating our moral fiber. Money laundering has corrupted many Caribbean islands.

We spend billions to eradicate drug growing in Columbia. Drugs are a way for rebels in many countries to earn money to finance their operations. It has been learned that the Taliban used the opium trade to obtain money in Afghanistan. The problem of eradicating opium production in Afghanistan is that local warlords and village leaders will lose the income from taxes on opium production; these are the same people we need to fight on our side.

Since drug use leads to crime, death, loss of human resources and more costs to pay for police and jails, then perhaps we should spend some of these billions on smaller classes, more teachers, job programs and more anti-drug education. If deprived youth felt that they had a better chance with an honest career, then perhaps they would not go into the drug-selling industry. Think about it.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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