Thursday, January 11, 2007

Landmarks eyed for parts of Bayside

By John Tozzi, Times Ledger

In an effort to keep existing houses from being replaced by larger new construction, preservation advocates want the community to think about applying for historic district status less than two years after Bayside was rezoned.

"Folks are realizing that even with the change of zoning, teardowns are still happening," said Paul Graziano, the urban planning consultant whose study formed the basis of the zoning changes in northeast Queens.

Graziano was scheduled to present information on potential Bayside historic districts at a meeting Jan. 11 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Bayside Historical Society in Fort Totten.

Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who commissioned Graziano's study, supports the idea, but both said any historic district proposal needs the support of the community.

"There are pluses and minuses," Avella said. "The plus is you have the ultimate protection. That neighborhood is going to be the way it is today in 50 years, in 100 years, as long as city government is around."

But living in a historic district means residents must get approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission for almost any external changes to the outside of their homes. Those limits will not sit well with some residents who think the new zoning laws are already too restrictive.

"I support [historic districts]," Avella said. "Will I do them in areas where homeowners don't want them? No. But if somebody asked me if I think it's a good idea, I'd say yes."

Even if many homeowners decide they want a historic district, whether they will get one is an open question.

Residents in Richmond Hill, led by the historical society there, have for years sought historic status for the neighborhood's Victorian homes.

Graziano and Avella are pushing a similar proposal for the Broadway-Flushing area as well. Critics charge that the Landmarks Preservation Commission focuses too much on Manhattan and neglects the outer boroughs.

Preservation is Avella's trademark issue, and his district already includes one half of Queens' six historic districts: Fort Totten, Douglaston and Douglaston Hill.

The latter, a small area south of the main Douglaston Historic District on the peninsula, was all but written off by the landmarks commission until a neighborhood effort put it in the spotlight. It was designated in 2004.

"We literally brought that district back from the dead," Avella said.

Graziano said there has never been a proposal for a historic district in Bayside, even though many parts of the neighborhood fit the criteria. If residents support the idea, he thinks it should move forward.

"It is a long process and they're fighting against time," Graziano said.


Anonymous said...

Oh no you don't! Once again the folks in eastern Queens are trying to take their communities off the table which will serve to concentrate even more development in a smaller area - an area filled with immigrants and working class people found in central and western Queens.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you said that. They should stop all these studies until a master plan is developed which will put this burden of development on all the communities equally. I notice that Avella has oked down-zoning for eastern part of the borough while agreeing to turning over our public waterfront in LIC to that mad-cap Suna brothers (sugar coated in the press with that wholesome 'Silvercup' name) racist wall for the wealthy.

Anonymous said...

Hey, want's your beef? The Bayside grandees take the railroad; they don't care if the subway is crowded and LIC had three hospitals 30 years ago, and only 1 today.

Your community boards and your politicans are your problem. Elect an Avella from your community and get on board if you don't like it!

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time in the peaceful land of Bayside, the people were warned of a rapacious developer named Tommy Huang by the folks who lived in the far off town of Flushing. "Please help us before he gets to you", they begged. But the Baysiders defiantly held their "snoots" high in the air , looking down on the likes of them. They said, never fear, we will never see the "Flushing-ization" of our little hamlet. Then one fine morning Tommy Huang did, indeed, appear at their door. He even built a couple of horrible dwellings there too. Then suddenly, all of those "tear-downs" started to happen. Beautiful homes were gone overnight. It made the people very unhappy. What should we do the "Nay-siders" all cried. They were told that they needed some Historic Districts to protect them. So they began to follow the yellow-brick road to the LPC for help. Hey, stop pushing and wait a minute boys. There's a long line ahead of you. You'll have to wait your turn. So ends our little fairy tale. The mesage of the story is: He who does not help his far off neighbors in distress can expect no help from them or special treatment from the LPC.

Anonymous said...

Nicely put, and a cautionary tale for us all.

verdi said...

A lot of "Nay-siders" (I love it) as you call them, live in further isolation. They've retreated into those towering buildings along the Cross Island Parkway and care little about what goes on below. (They're too busy pretending that they're living in Manhattan Towers). The only time that those "Bayclub Babes" come down is when its time to get their hair done in the Bell Blvd. salons! You can spot them if your patient. "Big-haired" past-it-all (living in the 60s) 50+ year-old-women hunting for "younger men" to "date" while their aging husbands (I suppose) are doing the same. Don't depend on these folks to help you with the creation of Historic Districts, they don't even know what a can-opener is. The maids order in.

Anonymous said...

I see that none of you "Nay-siders" who live in those towers by the bay have responded to my insults yet. Asleep as usual! Start counting your newly built Mc Mansions as a cure for insomnia. Oh. I forgot. You can look down opon your neighbors!