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CB 13 nixes LIRR plan, OKs co-op’s roof raising

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But instead of dispatching a speaker to discuss the railroad, the MTA sent Joe Raskin, assistant director of government and community relations, to talk about the Q27 bus that runs from Flushing to Queens Village.At the public scoping sessions held by the MTA earlier this month in Floral Park, L.I., CB 13 Chairman Richard Hellenbrecht demanded that a hearing also be held in Queens Village. City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) also sent a letter to the MTA asking for talks at a Queens location. But their proposal was shut down, Hellenbrecht said, because the MTA told him they are not legally required to hold such a meeting. "I think that's a slap in the face to the community," Hellenbrecht said. The chairman told the meeting's attendees that the MTA had announced changes to the project, which means the new tracks will not go west of the Nassau-Queens border and the Bellerose station will not be closed as originally planned.The LIRR said in its scoping document that a third track would be needed to improve peak time performance on its main corridor. The additional track would add 28 percent capacity to the main line.Hellenbrecht proposed a resolution that the board oppose the project because of the concern over possible nuclear or toxic chemicals aboard freight containers, additional noise, dust, pollution and the possibility of a derailment near Bellerose or Queens Village. The measure passed unanimously by a vote of 33-to-0.But another vote that was held on an issue at the meeting did not go so smoothly. Robert Friedrich, board president of Glen Oaks Village, a co-op comprised of 2,904 garden apartments housing 10,000 residents, spoke before CB 13 to seek its approval for the residents to raise their roofs about five feet. He said the increase in height would allow apartment owners to turn their attics into another floor, which would help them avoid a move to the suburbs in an effort to find more space."We're trying to keep our residents in Glen Oaks," Friedrich said.He said that the city Board of Standards and Appeals had no problems with his proposal because it involves "minimal improvements."The co-op uses 64 percent of the floor-area ratio that is allowed under zoning laws, Friedrich said. If every apartment were to make room for an additional floor, that number would rise to 74 percent."We like our open space. We like the character of the neighborhood. We're not going to change that," he said.The proposal drew concerns from board members, which included a question about whether or not the sewer and school systems could accommodate the extra people who would be living in the enlarged spaces. But Friedrich responded by saying that the same families would live in the apartments after improvements are made. He said Glen Oaks Village would not allow the additional space to be rented out.The measure carried by a vote of 16-to-13 with two abstentions. Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173

Updated 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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