Letter to the Times Ledger:
The proliferation of two- and four-family home construction is the often-neglected “elephant in the room” when we are talking about the overcrowding of our schools in Bayside.
I have read the comments by City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) in your June 3-9 article “Bayside leaders fear influx of new HS students,” in which he laments the migration of students from other communities into Bayside schools.
The current Hollis Hills/Auburndale/Oakland Gardens rezoning proposal will ensure that all future construction in most of Oakland Gardens will be single-family construction (R2-A). This was the result of years of long and hard civic involvement by the community of Oakland Gardens.
But after Weprin became installed as the new councilman for Oakland Gardens, he began advocating for the community to continue to be zoned for two-family homes. So, of course, I was surprised to hear him lament about the overcrowding of Bayside schools.
I have met with Weprin on two occasions, along with representatives of the civic association of Oakland Gardens, to ensure that the community continues its course to be downzoned so that most future construction will be single-family homes. Curiously, for reasons only he knows, he has decided to side with the developers.
Doubling and tripling the size of a community will require that the children living in these homes be educated. There are only so many seats in our schools. Where will they be educated? If single-family homes are allowed to double — and triple with illegal basement apartments — where will our current elementary school-aged children go when they reach high school age?
It is hard to reconcile that a representative for our community, who also happens to be the chairman of the Council Zoning Subcommittee and who can reject any rezoning proposal that will contribute to the overcrowding of our schools, is not advocating to downzone Bayside area communities to single-family but instead is readying to approve a zoning plan that will contribute to overcrowding.
We shall see if Weprin approves a zoning proposal which contributes to the overcrowding of Bayside schools when it reaches his desk.
Joseph T. McMahon