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Queens Chronicle

New City Council District maps complete, head for final vote

New lines sent to City Council for approval within three weeks

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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 11:23 am, Thu Nov 29, 2012.

The process to redraw the city’s council districts is making progress.

The NYC Districting Commission released its revised plan this week. Many of the lines were radically changed from its first plan, released in late summer.

The new maps are likely to be final unless the City Council rejects them. The Districting Commission will submit the maps for their approval within three weeks. Should the Council not take any action, the maps would be deemed approved, Shirley Limongi, a spokesperson for the NYC Districting Commission, explained. Then the maps will go to the U.S. Justice Department for clearance under the Voting Rights Act.

Should the council reject the maps — which is unlikely but possible — the commission would go back for another revision.

The new maps will go into effect for the 2013 elections.

In Northwest Queens, the 22nd District, currently represented by term-limited Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), would go into East Elmhurst, ending at 82nd Street and loses LaGuardia Airport and Rikers Island to the 21st District, represented by Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst).

The 26th District, represented by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), would include most of the East River waterfront south of Astoria Houses and unites all of Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside. It would lose a section of Maspeth, which along with Middle Village and Glendale is in the new 30th District, represented by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).

Losing its northern section to the Astoria-based 22nd District, Councilman Danny Dromm’s (D-Jackson Heights) 25th District would take up nearly all of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, including a significant chunk removed from the Forest Hills-based 29th District, which would expand to include Briarwood as well as Kew Gardens and Rego Park. Only small changes would be made to Ferreras’ district in Corona and East Elmhurst, and her district would still include Willets Point, Citi Field, the National Tennis Center and the World’s Fair Grounds.

In South Queens, the 32nd District would extend to include most of northern Richmond Hill near Forest Park, ending at Babbage Street. It would continue to include the Wakefield section of South Ozone Park, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the western half of the Rockaway Peninsula. However, the new lines would split Woodhaven, with the neighborhood west of Forest Parkway being placed into the 30th District and everything to the east in the 32nd District. Under the previous draft, Woodhaven was united as one neighborhood in the 30th.

The 28th District, represented by Ruben Wills (D-South Jamaica), would take in a significant chunk of Ozone Park, and with it the Indo-Caribbean and South Asian community based in South Richmond Hill.

The districts in Southeast Queens would not change that much, although the 31st District, currently represented by state Senator-elect James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton), would lose its section of Springfield Gardens to Councilman Leroy Comrie’s (D-St. Albans) 27th District. Comrie is also term-limited and is a candidate for borough president in 2013. That district would also gain a few more blocks of Downtown Jamaica.

Eastern Queens districts would change little. The 23rd District, represented by Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), would gain a section of Bayside Hills, while the 24th District, represented by retiring Councilman Jim Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), would remain mostly the same east of the Van Wyck Expressway, but would gain all of LeFrak City under the new lines.

The border between Councilman Peter Koo’s (D-Flushing) 20th District and the 19th District represented by Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) would get tweaked, giving Halloran more of Linden Hill with the district’s border running along 33rd Avenue to 169th Street.

In one odd change, JFK Airport would be divided between districts 28 and 31, with the airport’s runways in the latter and the Central Terminal Zone in the former. Limongi said the lines were drawn that way because the roads into and out of JFK pass through the 28th District.

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