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Bloomy listens to Bowne Park rezoning hopes

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In the 45-minute question-and-answer session, inquiries ranged from what to do with dead trees in the front yard to the mayor's continued hope for the approval of the West Side Stadium.But it was the mayor's disapproval of the McMansion phenomenon riling northeast Queens that drew the largest reaction from the packed room."This is probably the No. 1 thing I focus on," Bloomberg said. "And it's a problem of success because everyone wants to live here."Bob Averna, of the civic association, brought the issue to the mayor's attention during the meeting, asking whether he would continue to support the efforts to downzone and preserve the character of the Bowne Park neighborhood.Bloomberg said the problem is on the decline, although it is a slow process. Recalling the first downzoning issue in the city, Bloomberg said a Staten Island development demonstrated just how severe oversized houses can become when they stretch to the limits of the property line."You would walk down the steps and you don't step on the sidewalk. You literally walk onto the street," he said. "People just push the regulations and the pressures are that the contractors want to build, the people want to buy or rent, and the neighbors are on the other side."Amanda Burden, City Planning commissioner, said the Community Board 7 area, thanks to several studies headed up by City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) to downzone from the all-inclusive R-2 designation to a more restrictive zoning called R2-A, has seen more rezoning than anywhere else in the city."Community Board 7 has more downzoning initiatives than anywhere else I know," she said.Although the last in a long line of CB 7 downzoning efforts, which include Kissena Park, East Flushing, College Point and Whitestone, the likelihood that the Bowne Park neighborhood would join other protected areas gave rise to several rounds of applause and hollers of approval.Averna said he was pleased with the mayor's support."I think he answered my question as well as he could have," he said. "It's too bad that we're last on the list, so people need to know that we're going to continue focusing on it."Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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