From the Daily News:
Time may not be on the side of one Queens development firm.
Auburndale residents are trying to downzone their neighborhood to prevent Horace Harding Realty from building two six-story hotels on a contaminated lot in the community.
Now, the company is in a race against the clock to lay the foundations of two Marriott hotels at 183-15 Horace Harding Expressway before the area is rezoned.
"It's inappropriate for the neighborhood," said Henry Euler, a vice president at the Auburndale Improvement Association.
He said he's concerned that the hotels and the 18 two-family homes the company plans to build on the same lot as a former movie theater would increase traffic and parking problems.
Chris Xu, who is on the board of Horace Harding Realty, said parking shouldn't be a problem because the company plans to install spots underneath the hotels. Homes would also have garages, he said.
He said his firm has already invested about $6 million into the site cleanup and the project, which he expects will lead to the creation of 80 to 100 jobs.
But Xu said he's afraid the foundation won't be laid in time to be grandfathered into the current zoning, which allows hotels.
The groundwater at the location was contaminated by a dry cleaner that used to operate there sometime between 1984 and 2001, said state Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Maureen Wren.
The site was declared a brownfield in 2008, she said. But an investigation of the off-site groundwater is still ongoing.