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Zoning issues about houses cause concern for boro civics

On Sept. 11, the Bayside Hills Civic Association observed the anniversary of the day at its memorial at Bell Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway.

Invited to the event were borough legislators, city officials, the FDNY, the NYPD, the Boy Scouts of America, local religious leaders and others. The civic provided flags and people were asked to bring candles. The scouts displayed the colors, patriotic music was played and "The Star-Spangled Banner" was sung. Proclamations were read by city officials.

Displayed on the front page of the Bayside Hills Beacon's September issue was an American flag. Joe Lupo of L'Italiano Trattoria, adjacent to the Bayside Hills memorial, was thanked for weeding around it and watering the grass. The Keil Brothers Garden Center oversees the memorial's maintenance.

The civic had enlisted U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) to change its postal service designation to "Bayside Hills" instead of "Flushing" or "Oakland Gardens."

The Kissena Park Civic Association had as guest speakers Queens Civic Congress President Corey Bearak and Executive Vice President Patricia Dolan at its September meeting.

The Kissena Park civic worked with the city Parks Department to have a puppet show in the park in August and plans to plant daffodil bulbs during It's My Park Day Oct. 25. They are working on a concert for spring 2009.

Joe Amoroso, the civic Zoning Committee chairman, had a whole page about community zoning updates. He reported on an owner trying to use a loophole in the zoning law to permit a builder to build two houses where there had been one. A new owner used his garage for commercial storage and rented his basement. Another owner seems to be building illegally.

Another interesting story was written by Carsten W. Gleser, Ph.D., concerning the protection of rare old trees at school construction sites. Although Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks about planting 1 million trees by 2030, there seems to be no enforceable tree conservation law for construction on city property.

The city site discussed is the New Early Childhood Development School (PS 244) on Franklin Avenue. A large European Copperleaf Beech was destroyed and a Wych Elm is endangered.

The Holly Civic Association is against the Waldheim rezoning plan in Flushing because it has in it the upzoning of an area bounded by 45th Avenue, Colden Street, Elder Avenue and Kissena Boulevard. For years the civic cited overcrowding, over-development, and a lack of infrastructure and wanted to stop the up-zoning from R6 to R7-1.

Although Community Board 7 voted 27-7 against this rezoning, the chairman and Zoning Committee chairman presented the vote to Borough President Helen Marshal and later to the City Planning Commission as being due to "intimidation" by the crowd and CB 7 being "confused." But the plan voted on by the CB 7 board was never presented at these hearings. How could this be permitted to happen?

This whole thing seems similar to the dormitory being built in Jamaica Estates by a private developer who plans to rent it to St. John's University students. The zoning permits the dorm where it is, but the developer called it a "community facility," was given additional size and is using borrowed state dormitory money to build it.

All these buildings will change the quality of life in these communities and when there is heavy rain one day, there will be sewage water backing up into nearby homes unless people put in expensive backup valves.

GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: The prime loan crisis is bringing down more brokerage houses. Why were there no laws to stop the shady things being done?

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