CB 11 nixes proposal to landmark Doug sites

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Following nearly an hour of heated debate between Douglaston homeowners and neighborhood preservationists, Community Board 11 denied a proposal to landmark 21 historic buildings in Douglaston.

In a 14-24 vote Monday, the board opposed landmarking the buildings, which would have included 17 private homes along Willow and Cherry streets and Douglaston Parkway, the Manor Apartments, a co-op building, the Community Church of Douglaston and PS 98 on 235th Street.

The proposal came from the Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society, which wanted to landmark the buildings as part of an extension of the Douglaston Historical District. Board members and the public listened to arguments from both sides of the issue, which included historical society members and residents in the proposed landmark area.

Many at the meeting did support the landmarking, however.

"They're trying to shove this down our throats," said Franklin White, a resident of the proposed area, who delivered an impassioned plea for board members to oppose the landmarking. White presented a petition to board members that included the names of 13 homeowners who lived in the proposed area and were against the landmarking.

Thomas Sepe, another resident of the area, questioned the nerve of the historical society to "wander around [his] property and have a meeting about [his] home" without his consent or knowledge. He called on state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) to introduce a bill that would not allow a home to be considered for landmarking without the consent of the homeowner.

But Kevin Wolfe, vice president and co-founder of the Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society, spoke at length about how the landmarking would preserve the unique architecture of Douglaston. "These streets are like no other place in New York City," he said.

In other news, board members voted 22-9 to approve the placement of two group homes in Bayside that will house eight adult women suffering from cerebral palsy. Three representatives from the Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State presented their proposal to have the two three-bedroom homes, located at 51-34 Marathon Pkwy. and 63-40 255 St., converted into four-bedroom homes.

Members of the community voiced concerns over whether the Marathon Parkway location would be too isolated for the disabled women and whether the home's proximity to MS 67 would cause trouble.

The board also voted to endorse legislation by state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) that would require the city Department of Education to put school facilities it plans to lease through a stricter environmental review and also would force the department to seek input from the community and City Council before leasing a new facility. Currently, these standards are only required for buildings the DOE plans to buy.

Reach reporter Katy Gagnon by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext 174.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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