Community Board 6 convened for its monthly meeting last week with two topics dominating the majority of the conversation: the possible revival of the Rockaway line of the Long Island Rail Road and a planned four-story development on 102nd Street in Rego Park.
City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forst Hills) railed May 9 against the proposed revival of the Rockaway line, arguing the commuter rail that bisects parts of Forest Hills would be disruptive to residents who have built homes in the area since the line shut down more than 50 years ago.
“It will affect the neighborhood in an extremely negative way,” said Koslowitz. “The train will burden residents who have built their homes close to those tracks. We cannot allow another train to come through our neighborhood.”
“It’s an intrusion on private property,” she said.
The Regional Rail Working Group Rockaway Subcommittee, a transit advocacy group, released options for the line in February. The options include a plan that would build two stations at Rego Park and Aqueduct Race Track.
The revived railroad line could potentially be used to shuttle passengers from Penn Station to Resorts World Casino and a proposed convention center at Aqueduct in South Ozone Park.
“The city is closing schools and shutting down after-school programs,” Koslowitz said. “I would like to know where the money is coming from to rebuild this railway.”
Koslowitz said she plans to fight “tooth and nail” against the reopening of the railway and pledged to “bring it up at Council meetings.”
Prior to Koslowitz, representatives of Caliendo Architects spoke to the board about demolishing an existing building, at 65-39 102nd St., and rebuilding it as a four-story residential building with ground-level space for a medical office.
“The building has been vacant for a number of years, plus the office space is obsolete,” said Jerry Caliendo, adding the new medical office will sit on the ground level below three new residential dwellings. “The building will be built with the existing character of the neighborhood in mind.”
Neighborhood characteristics were not the chief concern of Emanuel Alayev, who lives close to the proposed development, and parking problems is just one issue he foresees with the new structure.
“Besides the parking problems, this building will look directly into mine and my neighbors’ yards and windows,” he said. “It will destroy our privacy.”
Even with complaints from Alayev, the board’s Planning and Zoning Committee voted to approve the application for the building.
The board also voted to approve a street activity permit for the Forest Hills Greenmarket to operate between 69th Road and 70th Avenue Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting in July and running through November.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2012 Community News Group
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