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Community Board 9 elects to keep slate of officers

Community Board 9 re-elected its slate of officers March 11 and approved a recommendation to the city requesting a zoning variance to build a new residential complex on Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill.

Paul Sapienza, first elected chairman two years ago, was re-elected to his third and final one-year term along with Ivan Mrakovcic as first vice chairman, Joseph Todisco as second vice chairman and Maria Camacho as executive secretary.

"I'm motivated by helping the community and I thought I could do well in this role," said Sapienza who had turned down two nominations in previous years before being elected. "I have an interest in the board."

District Manager Mary Ann Carey said Community Board 9 policy stipulates that no chairman can serve more than three consecutive terms. She did say, however, that someone wishing to be elected to more than three terms can sit out a year during elections then run the following year again for the chairmanship.

Sapienza, who shapes the board's monthly agenda and makes committee assignments, said he enjoys meeting with legislators, city agencies and other officials to discuss the community's issues and problems.

Some of those concerns, according to Sapienza, include a community goal to rezone certain parts of Richmond Hill to limit the number of residents in the area and preserve the neighborhood's Victorian architecture.

He said the board is trying to add housing units in a community that is already crowded and has problems with families illegally converting one and two-family homes to fit three or four families.

This crowding issue was discussed during the board's monthly meeting when it approved a developer's request for a zoning variance to build a new apartment complex at 124-20 Jamaica Avenue. Sapienza said the board recommended granting the variance because the housing units will have underground parking spots and not increase neighborhood traffic.

"We just don't want an architect coming in and destroying the architectural flavor of the community," he said. "That would only exasperate the current situation."

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at or by phone at 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 156

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