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Queens Chronicle

CB 13 rezoning clears its first major hurdle

Borough President hearing up next

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Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 10:30 am

Members of Community Board 13 broke out in applause Tuesday night at a moment many had been anticipating for more than a decade.

The occasion was the unanimous approval of a plan by the City Department of Planning aimed at protecting the character of residential neighborhoods in Bellerose, Floral Park and Glen Oaks that have had predominantly one- and two-family houses for decades.

“You’ve been waiting 15 years,” said CB 13 Chairman Bryan Block as the final vote was cast to cheers from all in attendance.

The proposal is designed to stop encroachment of commercial interests and large houses that for the moment have no restriction on their heights in some areas.

“This is a great plan,” said Paul Graziano, a Queens resident and professional urban planner who worked with the board during the process.

Richard Hellenbrecht, chairman of CB 13’s Land Use Committee, thanked Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) for his help throughout the process.

The changes were universally praised by most local civic organizations. The one reservation expressed by many is that the changes do not affect so-called public accommodations, such as schools, churches, day care centers and some medical facilities, which are allowed some latitude within zoning regulations.

The measure now goes to the Borough President’s Office for a public hearing at 10 a.m. on April 4, followed by another before the City Planning Commission on April 24.

Should it pass muster at both places the proposal would come up for a vote before the City Council on an undetermined date.

In other business, the board got a visit from new City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Rockaway), who is settling into his seat representing the 31st District after being sworn in last week.

Richards said his committee assignments — Economic Development, Community Development, Environmental Protection, Youth, Juvenile Justice and Waterfronts — all will benefit the community.

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