Friday, September 7, 2012

Why proper zoning is important


This is the story of what happened after a lifelong Woodside resident, concerned about the plans for the house next door to hers, contacted her local elected officials. The corner house was sold to a developer.

She is worried about the damage that likely will be done to her adjacent property. Excavation would not only require digging up a foundation, but also bringing the landscape down to grade level. Cracks in her foundation are likely. And the work would require that a retaining wall be built. A retaining wall on the property line would kill her mature trees.

Not only that, but the local environment would be devastated by the loss of the mature trees on the corner lot.

After contacting the local elected officials and the new owner, a meeting was set up for Monday, August 27th, to discuss the developer's plan and what could be done to prevent an unmitigatable mess.

So, of course, on Friday, August 24th, the developer cut all the trees down...


The meeting proceeded on the 27th.

The long and the short of it: The developer wants to squeeze three 3-family homes onto the lot which currently contains a single 2-family house. The house is still standing - they are waiting for utilities to be shut down before they demo it.

They did make some minor concessions already - they are going to move the retaining wall back 8 feet so that her trees won't be killed - but it's still a disaster.

Council Member Van Bramer announced at the meeting that because of this situation, he wants to immediately push for contextual rezoning of the area, but of course that won't happen for at least a year. At least 50% of his district hasn't been rezoned yet.

A lot of times you'll hear people say, "Well if you care so much about it, why don't you buy the property yourself?"

The next-door neighbor indeed offered to buy it from the previous homeowner's estate, but for some reason, her bid was rejected for the developer's lower offer of $800K.

He obviously wants her property as well, but she isn't going anywhere.


The end.

22 comments:

georgetheatheist said...

Ah, the charm of that lady's asphalt siding. Who invented that unaesthetic crap anyway? You still see this garbage on many of the borough's frame houses. If only it had beautiful wood siding! That's one of the problems with the borough's housing stock: the siding sucks.

Queens Crapper said...

Pictured is the corner house, not the lady's house.

Jerry Rotondi said...

How ironic that
the area is named Woodside and arboricide
has just been committed there.

Will there be any "woods" left standing in Woodside
in the near future?

Now Councilman Van Bramer takes action after the fact.

Joe Moretti, Jamaica, NY said...

It is issues like this and others on this site why one should take an active stand in their community and let the powers to be hear your voice (as many times as possible). Get involved in your community, contact elected officials & city/community leaders, go to community board meetings, let the media know your concerns and be persistent and not give up so easily. Others are counting on you to either not do nothing or give up quickly. Standing up for what is right is never easy and the cards are sometimes stacked against you, but your voice, your actions, your perseverance, can make a difference. But hiding behind anonymous comments spouting such things as "move out of your neighborhood", "nothing can be done", "who is going to do anything" or "the community is lost" and not taking any kind of action on the issue is just what the powers to be what you to do so they can go on with their agenda. It is this type of negative, self-defeating attitude that such issues as this and others happen all the time. A do nothing, apathetic, negative attitude solves nothing but allows others to get their agenda through.

Anonymous said...

But hiding behind anonymous comments spouting such things as "move out of your neighborhood", "nothing can be done", "who is going to do anything" or "the community is lost" and not taking any kind of action on the issue is just what the powers to be what you to do so they can go on with their agenda. It is this type of negative, self-defeating attitude that such issues as this and others happen all the time. A do nothing, apathetic, negative attitude solves nothing but allows others to get their agenda through.
----------------------------------
Agreed, but at this point, is there really anything left in Queens to save?

Anonymous said...

So the 3x3 family can be built there "as of right"...

I can guess why the estate turned down an bid of $800,000. The developer probably started with a bid $1,000,000 or more, dragged out the negotiations, and then came bad with a hard-luck story after the other bidders walked away. The estate probably thought there was option left for them except to take the $800,000 on the table.

Anonymous said...

I will never understand people on this website. Do they hate cities? Then why do they live in NYC?

NYC needs more density, not less. NYC is transit friendly, and environmentally much better than living in sprawl.

Woodside is the perfect place for more density. It's on the subway relatively close to Manhattan, and is already mostly dense.

It makes sense to build higher density in Woodside, but here on this website everyone wants to turn it into some hick town in Pennsylvania or something. If you need to live in a single family home with big trees, then move to the country, not to the middle of a big city!

It's bad environmental practice to prevent high density construction, because then people will just sprawl out into the suburbs, and 10times as many trees will be cut down than in this instance.

Your "tree preservation" in Woodside will lead to far more tree destruction overall, because people still need a place to live, so they will do it in some sprawling suburb, where the housing lots take up 10 times as much space.

Queens Crapper said...

Ah, a troll. First of all, we live in Queens, not Manhattan. "More density" in Queens results in large lots being subdivided, with yards paved over and trees cut down, so that there is extensive stormwater runoff, overburdened sewers and flooding. "More density" in Queens means overcrowded schools with kids packed onto shitty public transportation. 9 units where there were 2 means nowhere to park (since more than half the residents have cars since it's the only way to get around most hours). "More density" in Queens means even lower cop:resident ratio and higher crime rates since the city isn't hiring more cops to keep up with population demands. "More density" in Queens means more blackouts since Con Ed can't keep up with electricity demands.

If you like density so much, move to Midtown, where it's dense and also the most polluted.

Joe Moretti, Jamaica, NY said...

And let me add to Queens Crapper's comments. I know exactly the kind of three 3-family homes that will get put in that lot. Extremely cheap built apartments (bad plumbing, bad wiring, cheap walls/ceilings) with absentee property owners who rarely appear, rarely fix anything or have no rules of conduct for tenants. Throw on top of that attempts to always try to illegally convert basements in these types of buildings to extra apartments and then the type of people who eventually move into these squalor type of apartments and not only do you have another blight on a community, but a quality of life issue and a safety/health issue as well. Most of these types of places end up getting hit with many violations that half the time do not get taken care of. I should know, my community of Jamaica has been littered with these types of buildings that have gone up on what was once 1-2 family homes and we are paying the price for it. Overcrowding, litter/trash, crime, noise, fire hazards, etc. No one is trying to turn NYC into a hick town but trying to preserve what little we have.

Anonymous said...

Great comments from Jerry and QC, of course, but don't forget that character counts, too. Neighborhoods can evolve and welcome newcomers without losing what makes it special. But without common-sense zoning laws a neighborhood could find itself losing its core identity. I don't dislike Van Brammer, but it is looking like he doesn't really understand what makes Woodside Woodside. There should have been a strategy since Day 1 to address issues like these and protect the gutting of our neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Actually as a devils advocate, I would like to comment on QC comment and others who doesn't like too high density.

I personally doesn't like high density and thus moved out of Queens to LI.

But for those who complain about these high density, what DO you want it to be.. LOW DENSITY LIKE A FARM ? Are you trying to convert Queens back to like the calmness and greenliness of Long Island? Not possible my friends. It's like turning midtown into long island.

So if you complain about high density, it means you want low density. If you want low density, you HAVE TO move out of Queens. Only way they can preserve it is zone it to only allow 1 families homes everywhere. But you can't stop people from flooding into Queens. By then, sometimes the 1 families will turn into multifamilies living in 1 family home. So development had to keep up with the flooding in of people and thus they are able to make money because there are people.

If there is no flooding in of people, then whatever the developers build will not be sold and will make the real estate prices drop. But then, eventually there will be no development, because developers cannot make money.

It's because people keep flooding to Queens, that's why the developers can continue to develop housing and still make money.

So at the end, only way is to make people stop moving into Queens. That is the main cause.

But you can also argue that the developer have this mentalily "If you built it, they will come". So the question is similar to the chicken or the egg question.

Queens Crapper said...

Why do you keep mentioning 1-family homes and low density? Most of Queens is 2 or 3-family, medium density. We don't want low density like LI and we don't want high density like Manhattan. We want what's already here. Being able to subdivide lots down to 20 feet wide plus the infill loophole, is the problem.

Anonymous said...

"If you want low density, you HAVE TO move out of Queens"

Screw you, troll!

Anonymous said...

To the troll:

Woodside is already a serious mess because of lousy zoning. This is not a neighborhood that has the ability to absorb the kind of development that's been happening there for the last 15 years or so...

Our expectation is to have a decent quality of life in our neighborhoods. There's plenty of crappy towns in Long Island, not to mention no tax base. In fact, there has been such a drain of young families from these towns that they are UNSUSTAINABLE.

The answer is simple. Unlike you, having fled to Long Island to escape your troubles, many of us have decided to stay and fight for our neighborhoods. We're not cowards such as yourself who sit around telling people to give up and move to sterile, overly-expensive suburbs when we CAN have very nice, clean, safe and sometimes beautiful places to live in Queens.

Deal with it, asshat.

Anonymous said...

Van Bramer is generally out to lunch,
except if there is a gay issue involved.

Anonymous said...

Why do we always hear from developers and speculators that we should "MOVE" out of Queens if we don't like the higher density that they'd love to cram down our throats?

Why don't you manipulative jerk-offs build somewhere else...like on the plains of Kansas.
There's plenty of room to build you shoddy shit there!

P.S.
What keeps property values higher in lower density neighborhoods is the fact that they are lower density neighborhoods.

It's been proven that property values drop when higher density creeps into these...unless you're a 3rd world type, who's used to living on top of your neighbor's ass.

You are just a greedy bunch of bastards who, most likely, live in Nassau County (where it's low density) but want to screw up our similar neighborhoods so you "A" holes can bank more cash.

Up your sphincter, pal !!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't dislike Van Brammer, but it is looking like he doesn't really understand what makes Woodside Woodside. There should have been a strategy since Day 1 to address issues like these and protect the gutting of our neighborhood.
---
Van Bramer knows exactly what he is doing - building his resume with buddies like Crissy Quinn so he can get out of places like Woodside where he grew up.

Developers get plenty of attention (to say nothing of city resources like your taxes).

If Jimmy was serious about this he would have addressed it on day one - not wringing his hands.

He doesn't care. No problem Woodside - solution is simple:

Find someone who does.

Anonymous said...

The problem is simple,
and the solution is even simpler.

YOU VOTERS are the solution.

If you remain invisible you will NEVER
get your demands met.

HARANGUE your local pol.
DELUGE his office with complaints.
BE IN HIS FACE,
and if necessary, A PAIN IN THE ASS TO HIS STAFF!

The squeaky wheel always gets oiled!

Anonymous said...

Tell me it's an illegal Asian immigrant who did this and will move in slobs who will sit all day on plastic crates by the steps. All day long. on your tax dollar, getting Jiggets to pay the rent.

Anonymous said...

It's not an illegal Asian immigrant - the developers are longtime residents of Jackson Heights. They're just your typical developers targeting areas that haven't been zoned properly and taking advantage of that fact.

It still sucks, but doesn't have the racist subtext that you're placing on the situation.

Paul Graziano

Anonymous said...

Greedy developer bastards
are greedy developer bastards,
no matter what race, creed or color they happen to be!

Squeeze your pol's nuts to improve the zoning!

AND DON'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER from them!

bulletthesky said...

see this is the thing about beautiful houses like the one the blogger posted up

this isnt some autobody place or abandoned cat yard sigh (which would stink and also be a sad state of affairs at the same time)

These are indeed beautiful trees in abundance that took ages to grow u know.
and people dont appreciate that these days.
for shame.
-henry