Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Dear Editor (Queens Chronicle):
The New York City Department of City Planning is nearing the end of its study on the contextual rezoning of central and southern Auburndale. Some preliminary plans have been put forward by this city agency and some meetings have already been held by Councilman Tony Avella and Community Board 11 in concert with local civic groups. The plans look promising, however, there are still several major issues that need to be addressed from my point of view as a vice president of the Auburndale Improvement Association, one of the oldest civic organizations in the city.
There is an area in the Station Road neighborhood currently designated as a manufacturing zone which should be placed with a residential designation. That would mean that as these businesses leave the area or go out of business, they could be replaced by new single and two family homes.
Another issue is that attached single family residences merit their own special, protective designation. Designations that City Planning uses now, apply to many types of housing, including multi-family ones, and encourage higher density development. Many civic leaders across the borough have been urging a new “rowhouse” designation for years, however, none has been forthcoming.
A third concern with the preliminary rezoning plan is that certain recommendations made by City Planning could be improved upon to ensure that discrete area are correctly zoned based on the preponderance of their housing stock. Civic groups will insist that all areas be zoned to ensure that neighborhoods receive as much protection as possible to preserve neighborhood integrity and stability.
A final big concern are commercial overlays along major thoroughfares like Northern Boulevard. Approximately one mile of Northern Boulevard in the Auburndale and Station Road areas has no commercial overlays and we would like to keep it that way.
The Auburndale Improvement Association as well as neighboring civic and community groups will continue to fight to ensure that the proposed rezoning of Auburndale and the other communities involved in the plan — including Station Road, Kissena Park, Oakland Gardens, and Hollis Hills — are rezoned fairly and correctly based on each individual neighborhood. We want this plan enacted as soon as possible in order to curb inappropriate development in our communities.
First Vice President
Auburndale Improvement Association