Dutch Kills clamors for rezoning
Community Board 1 member and Dutch Kills resident George Stamatiades lambasted the City Planning Department and the city's Buildings Department at a town hall meeting held by state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) earlier this month, prompting residents in the audience to vent their anger at representatives from the two agencies who were in attendance.Stamatiades said Dutch Kills residents were infuriated that parking spaces at two residential buildings currently being constructed on Crescent Street had been taken out of the plan. One of the two buildings located on Crescent between 41st Avenue and Queens Plaza North will feature 144 residential units, while the other will have 122 units, he said."This is lunacy," Stamatiades said. "If City Planning creates rules, they should not allow the DOB to waive them. As long as there are two agencies governing what happens in a community and they don't speak to each other, you've got a mess on your hands."Dutch Kills residents at Gianaris' town hall meeting angrily shouted that "You ruined my life" and "It isn't right" as City Planning officials discussed the waivers.City Planning Deputy Director Deborah Carney told audience members at the town hall meeting that the department requires a specific number of parking spaces when a new building is constructed in the city. But she said existing zoning in the neighborhood allowed for the DOB to waive parking.The DOB could not be reached for comment.But Jerry Walsh, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, said Dutch Kills residents will also soon have to contend with a new 16-floor hotel that will be constructed on Queens Plaza North near 41st Avenue. Parking has also been waived at that site, he said.Walsh said parking will become increasingly scarce in the neighborhood following the construction of the three buildings. He said the neighborhood will lose even more parking following the removal of Astoria's municipal parking lot on Hoyt Avenue to allow for a HANAC senior housing development and the closing down of the Long Island City municipal parking lot at Jackson Avenue and Queens Plaza South to allow for a new commercial building.City Planning has proposed a project to rezone 40 blocks of Dutch Kills that has been in the works for several years. The area includes borders at Sunnyside Yards, north of Queens Plaza, 36th Avenue, Northern Boulevard, 41st Avenue and 23rd Street, according to the department's Web site.The project would provide residential and mixed use development, offer incentives for affordable housing and place higher density buildings on wide streets.But Dutch Kills leaders said the project has been in the works for several years and that, in the meantime, developers have been putting in foundations to prevent them from being affected by future rezoning. "Big developers are swallowing up small homes," said Rosemarie Poveromo, president of the United Community Civic Association. "It's wrong. The system is down the toilet." Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
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