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Boro Hall plan sparks ire

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CB 8 member Bernard Diamond read the letter to EDC President Joshua Sirefman aloud at last week's meeting. Both CB 8, which touches Briarwood, and CB 9, which covers Kew Gardens, where the courthouse is located, are upset because the request for proposals actually requires fewer parking spaces to be built when the parking garage behind Queens Borough Hall is demolished to make way for a new mixed-use structure. The EDC announced in September that it was seeking proposals to purchase and redevelop the Queens Borough Hall Garage as an 880,000-square-foot mixed-use development to include new offices for the Queens district attorney and other commercial tenants, a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, parking, retail space and an inviting setting for a future high school, which is not part of the plan. The site, behind Queens Borough Hall and the Queens County Criminal Courthouse, is bounded by Union Turnpike, 82nd Avenue, the Van Wyck Expressway and 126th Street. Part of 132nd Street would be demapped for the project.The four-story garage contains 920 parking spaces, and there are another 130 spaces on the part of 132nd Street to be demapped. But the guidelines for the project only require a "minimum of 900 spaces," a net loss of 150 parking spaces in the congested area even before the tenants of the new offices and housing move in.On those grounds, Diamond wanted "an addendum [to] be issued to bidders to raise the parking minimum to at least 1,500 cars."CB 8 voted to endorse the letter, with some members saying the current project is much larger than originally planned two years ago and does not consider how reducing parking near the courthouse will affect Briarwood."It can be clearly demonstrated that the nearby public parking supply, including in the neighboring Briarwood area, is already wholly and painfully inadequate. The proposal will exacerbate a host of other existing service problems for the affected neighboring area," Diamond read from the letter.He objected to the fact that parking, already scarce near the courthouse, will become more so in a city expected to see another million residents in the next 25 years."The proposed development as outlined in the [request for proposals] should clearly contribute to the resolution of the existing parking conditions, rather than intensify the current parking problem," Diamond said.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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