Thursday, September 25, 2008

Upzoning. Upzoning. Upzoning!

To The Editor:

The [Queens] Gazette used 578 words to tell half a story.

All the neighborhoods in our city are screaming for downzoning. The Dutch Kills community was and is screaming for UPZONING. What part of that is not understood by the Gazette?

The Dutch Kills Zoning Proposal was designed to UPZONE the area for residential use "as of right". The rest of the zoning was designed to balance the character of the community. It was not intended to further special interests; rather, the UPZONING was intended for the good and welfare of the entire community.

The Dutch Kills community was condemned to death as a residential community by the zoning change of 1961. That change, in effect, said: NO NEW HOMES or expanded homes in Dutch Kills. Those that remained found it difficult to secure mortgages, fire insurance and, if a home was destroyed, more than 50 percent could not be rebuilt. THAT was real DOWNZONING, better known as How To Kill A Family Neighborhood 101.

Queens Community Board 1 and Borough President Helen Marshall recommended passage of the UPZONING proposal for the Dutch Kills community, which is now before the City Council. Hundreds of property owners will benefit from the zoning change. Property values will rise for owners because there can now be two uses for the property: Commercial and Residential. Commercial owners can continue to provide jobs and expand. Can they build tall manufacturing buildings? Yes, but not in areas of Dutch Kills.

When Dutch Kills Civic Association President Jerry Walsh brought our request for UPZONING for residential uses to the attention of Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg, it was noted that Jerry was the only one of the civic leaders gathered at the Gracie Mansion meeting making such a request. By the end of the day, Department of City Planning Chair Amanda Burden had an appointment with Jerry. Jerry has worked tirelessly with the Department City Planning to revitalize our community. Will everyone be satisfied? No, of course not. However, had Jerry not started this process when he did, our community would have been totally devastated by the hotels that have rushed to build. Nineteen hotel permits have been issued in a five-block area.

There is a balance in the Dutch Kills proposal for low, medium and high-rise zoning for residential and business property owners. With the patience and hard work of Queens Director of City Planning John Young, Joy Chen and Penny Lee, we have reached a milestone for the good of the entire community.

Now with the new UPZONING, we can begin to rebuild our community.


George L. Stamatiades
Executive Director
Dutch Kills Civic Association of Long Island City, Inc.


Anonymous said...

CB1 the community board from hell.

Anonymous said...

How perfect!

Stamatiades a Greek undertaker
helps kill off and bury Dutch Kills
along with the help of his friends at CB#1 the community board from Haydes!

Oh, and we didn't forget your
assistance either George Delis!

Anonymous said...

Was that satire?

Anonymous said...

No, its pathetic.

Now tennis bubbles in Astoria Park, or the latest taco truck or bangla take out - woo-hah! 100 commnets by noon!

Anonymous said...

Be easy on them! No elected official gave them the green light to say anything.

Astoria is like the frog in the perverbial pot of water. It will just dumbly sit there as the heat is turned up degree by degree until its cooked.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe anyone is that stupid. That community had better get smart or a freight train is going to hit it and mow it down.

Anonymous said...

Someone posted this on

Astoria community is totally unused to public disagreement unless it is officially sanctioned. There are a number of reasons for this:

1. The people: Most of the residents in Astoria are from hierarchical societies where authority (no matter how arbitrary or harmful) is respected and deferred to. Most of the residents in this community are working class, where they take orders rather than make them.

2. The machine: The political machine has a firm grip on the community. Newspapers rarely critique, but simply publish press releases from the politician's desk masquerading as news. Photographs inevitably show smiling politicians cutting ribbons and doling out money. It is almost impossible to break into this little clique. It is impossible for any ideas to see the light of day unless it is officially sanctioned. This encourages passivity and helplessness.

The blogs and internet is turning this upside down, and may ultimately spell the death knell for this, but that is decades away.

3. The reform movement: It doesn't exist. And where it does, is very targeted and community specific, such as in Greenwich Village. What is needed is an effort of outside funding for community catalysts to fan out an empower neighborhoods - very similar to the programs of Transportation Alternatives or the waterfront groups.

That guy kind of sumed it up. They are a bunch of losers.

Anonymous said...

Well even if they are, their stupidity is gumming up the works for everyone else.

Try getting home if the trains are crowded, or having the city spend money on services like getting the garbage picked up if those yo yos turn their community into one big constuction project.

Their clumsiness will spill over to next door, then next door, then the whole boro.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the guy that leads them is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and the politicians know how to play him like a song.

I went to a walking tour he did of his community and all he said was:

1. this was a place of memory
2. this will be bulldozed.
3. a nice big building will go up.

It was embaressing to everyone on the tour.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Well, remember this is no education program on how to run a good civic, or no real city wide civic community to set standards, the only story people hear is what their local 'talent' tells them.

Now if their local 'talent' has sold them to developers, and the press (which is also run by the local 'talent') smiles and nods, what recourse does the public have?

You see, when the local 'talent' loses faith in their own community, well its 'milk old Bessie till she drops.'

Then move on.

Anonymous said...

this was the only western queens civic to belong to queens civic congress.

eastern queens is downzoning and pushing development to western queens?


did queens civic congress encourage this?

Anonymous said...

What everyone fails to realize it that DK was zoned industrial in 1961 and without The ability to build residential AT ALL the area would never become a vital community again. So, no, no one else asked for upzoning but no one else is strictly an industrial zone.
get it?