From the Times Ledger:
After years of fighting for rezonings to stop the proliferation of hotels being built in their community, Dutch Kills residents are making steps to take their community’s character into their own hands.
At the Holiday Inn on 29th Street in Long Island City July 7, Dutch Kills residents hosted Gianni Longo, architect and co-founder of the Manhattan-based community-planning company ACP. After discussing the needs and wants of the community with the residents present, Longo encouraged them to make a map of specific places in the neighborhood that could be improved.
“We have a chance to actually make a difference,” said Noni Pratt, a resident of Dutch Kills who invited Longo to speak.
The residents of Dutch Kills fought for a rezoning of the community after a large number of multi-story hotels were built or in the planning stage for the area as tourism increased during the 1990s and 2000s. These residents felt the rapid growth of hotels was ruining the character of the town. While the citizens won a rezoning in 2008 that stipulated a maximum height for buildings in the area, many taller hotels have still been built or are planned to be built due to being grandfathered in or builders applying for variances.
“A lot of people are very cynical and very depressed after the city rolled over us after the rezoning,” said Megan Friedman, vice president of the Dutch Kills Advocacy League.
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), who visited the meeting, suggested trying to get St. Patrick’s Church landmarked after it was suggested by the residents.
“It’s exciting to hear you talk about ideas for the community,” she told them.
Maloney also promoted the work she has done on construction for the nearby Queens Plaza Park, which drew the ire of some residents, such as Friedman, who believed she had not done enough.
Longo suggested residents draw a map of Dutch Kills and mark what areas they liked and what they could improve. He said if they did this, he would come back and they could discuss how to get some of their hoped-for projects completed and where to find funding for them.
The Queens Chronicle has more.