Today’s news:

Flushing rezoning moves forward: Liu

Liu said he expects a town hall meeting to kick off the public approval process for the rezoning sometime in mid-May at which the community would be formally presented with the final proposal and have an opportunity to comment on it. The proposal would then be set for votes from the community board, borough president, City Planning Commission and City Council."We've had some very positive developments," he said.CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty said the Holly Civic, which has been unhappy with the rezoning plans, formally asked to be taken out of the rezoning proposal at a recent meeting, but he hopes to keep marching forward regardless of the development.The Waldheim-Holly rezoning plan covers an area of southwestern Flushing east of the Van Wyck Expressway and North of Kissena Park."We'll ask [Queens City Planning Director] John Young to break off the Holly component," Kelty said. "But even if we have to have two meetings in June we'll do that just so we can make sure we get this done as I've promised all along."If the rezoning does move forward, it will be a major victory for CB 7, which has two other rezonings - North Flushing and Auburndale - waiting in the wings. Kelty has contended the city has been dragging its feet on downzonings designed to preserve the character of neighborhoods in lieu of more pro-development projects, like the rezoning of downtown Jamaica passed last year.Frank Pasqual, MTA Bridges and Tunnels Division spokesman, also spoke at the meeting to brief the board on renovations set to take place on the Throgs Neck bridge. He said the MTA is readying plans to replace much of the road deck on the Queens side of the bridge and is currently in the process of repainting a large portion of the bridge."That's particularly interesting because when we're done with that all of the lead paint [on bridges] will be gone in Queens," Pasqual said.He said the bridge deck replacement probably will begin later this year and is expected to take nearly three years. He said the effect on traffic patterns will be minimal with the exception of two five-week periods when the entrance to the bridge on the Cross Island Expressway will be closed.During these times, which will be announced at a later date, drivers will instead have to use the Clearview Expressway.Throgs Neck Bridge General Manager Ed Wallace said neither of the projects, however, will affect a pair of peregrine falcons, which roost atop one of the towers of the bridge."I love my falcons," Wallace said. "I've been told they are back, but there are no eggs as of yet."Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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