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Padavan, community oppose building on Udalls Cove land

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On Jan. 4, a Bayside-based developer called Douglaston Manors LLC applied to the state Department of Environmental Protection for a tidal wetlands permit to build 18 single-family detached homes on lots in Udalls Cove, a wooded area in Douglaston that Community Board 11 has been converting into a park and nature preserve over the last 30 years.Padavan said that after he and Walter Mugdan, the president of the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee, wrote to the DEC objecting to the development, the state refused to issue the permit. But DEC officials Tuesday described the application as "incomplete." It remains unclear whether the permit will be denied.The plots of land in question do not front an actual street. They lie east of 243rd Street where a two-block piece of 43rd Avenue ends. The land technically fronts on 246th Street, a mapped road that was never built by the city and would have gone through the middle of Udalls Cove Ravine. A DEC permit is required to build on the spot because it is a tidal wetlands area.A message left for Douglaston Manors LLC was not returned."Undoubtedly there will be universal opposition to the granting of a permit," Padavan wrote in a Jan. 23 letter to Louis Oliva, the acting director of the DEC for the area. He noted that much of Udalls Cove has been preserved as parkland through city and state funds."Obviously we're very unhappy about the application, but we are relying on the city to carry though on its commitment to purchase these properties," Mugdan said.Susan Seinfeld, the district manager for Community Board 11, said three of the four parcels have already had condemnation hearings, an important step in the city's acquiring the land.Padavan speculated that the permit application may be part of an effort to drive up the value of the land and get more money from the city for it."What this builder may well be doing is doing all this to inflate the condemnation price," he said by phone from Albany Tuesday. "We don't know. It's merely a guess.""The overriding issue is the fact that this is an environmentally sensitive area," Padavan said.Bernard Haber, chairman of the state's Northeast Queens Nature and Historic Preserve Commission, said he was writing a letter asking that the permit be denied as well.Reach reporter John Tozzi by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 188.

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