By Cynthia Koons

The proposed zoning changes would essentially prohibit builders from constructing multiple-family dwellings that extend to the sides of the property lots they sit on. Instead, John Young and Fred Lee, both from the Department of City Planning, told residents new laws would limit builders to only being able to construct one- and two-family homes that do not resemble the McMansions that have posed headaches in other northeast Queens neighborhoods like Bayside. “We need to have orderly growth and development, not rapid growth and development,” Young told the crowd of about 50 gathered at the Poppenhusen Institute, 114-04 14th Rd., last Thursday night. “We're playing a lot of catch-up.” The zoning laws on the books are 40 years old and have since allowed for the construction of multiple-family units on the small, crowded residential streets of College Point. Residents often complain of overdevelopment, a lack of city services, few routes in and out of the community and broken sewer pipes that lead to flooding. In recent years, the city Economic Development Corporation has invested time and money in building a corporate park on the outskirts of the neighborhood that has left the two roads that lead into College Point, 20th and 14th avenues heavily congested. “The area has been changed in terms of rezoning since the 1961 zoning resolution,” Lee said. “Under the current zoning it makes it attractive to do multiple-family developments.” The new zoning would require side yards and prevent attached, row houses from being built in most of College Point. “People can adequately grow in their house and add a room or two but not extend into their yard,” Young said. “We've been working very expeditiously to get to this point.” Planner Paul Graziano, who was the architect of this new zoning map, said these proposed laws have been in the works for a year and a half. City representatives said if everything goes according to schedule, they could be enacted by fall. “There is a real push by the city to open up access to the waterfront,” Graziano said. College Point used to be a historic vacation destination with beaches and yacht clubs. It has since deteriorated under the weight of manufacturing plants that were constructed on the coast in the past 100 years. Some residents who attended the meeting, like Richard Dauenheimer, have seen the neighborhood change and change again. “It's very noisy now, it's very crowded,” said Dauenheimer, who has lived in the community for more than 70 years. “It's cleaner than it has been in a long time.” His wife, Barbara, said she was excited at the prospect of new zoning. “I'm very happy, I just wish it could go in tomorrow,” she said. Artie Sheer, a College Point resident, said he is confident the neighborhood will support this change in zoning law. “I've lived here for over 50 years and the area is changing to such a degree that it's difficult for me to say I live in College Point,” he said. “We're all in favor,” he said of changing the zoning laws. “We're 110 percent in favor of it.” Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.



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