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The latest push to turn Queens into the city’s hotspot is a convention center, hotel and residential complex.
Fleet Financial Group recently purchased the property at 112-21 Northern Blvd. — the former location of DiBlasi Ford — and has announced that it will begin construction on the 1.67-acre site in June.
From the perspective of many north and northeast Queens residents, 2013 was a good year for developers and not so great for the average citizen, who had to put up with increased airplane noise, overcrowded schools and more from College Point to Little Neck.
Like any year, 2013 brought many changes, but the overriding story here is Flushing Meadows Park, which has been bombarded on all fronts with some unpopular projects as the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair continues to suffer from neglect.
Elections and new laws adopted in 2013 promised sweeping changes across the city’s horizon in 2014, with a new mayor, a new City Council, and an uncertain future for policies on education, law enforcement and city finances.
The Lindenwood Alliance will join with the Howard Beach Civic Association on Jan. 1, 2014 with a change of the group’s name to the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association, Joann Ariola, president of the Alliance, informed residents who attended Monday’s meeting of the Alliance.
Ariola also said meetings will now be held at 7:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month and the new meeting place will be in the cafeteria of St. Helen School in Howard Beach.
Political heavyweights from throughout Queens were on hand at LaGuardia Airport last Friday as Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Bronx, Queens) announced legislation that would require airlines to stock their fleets with quieter planes.
The Quiet Skies Act (HR 3650) will, if passed, give the Federal Aviation Administration until the end of 2015 to come up with regulations that would require all domestic airlines to phase in quiter aircraft, or those meeting the federal Stage 4 noise requirements.
A full audience of Jackson Heights residents raised their hands Monday night when Janet McEneany, the president of Queens Quiet Skies, asked if they were tired of planes flying over their houses every minute, one after another, like a brigade of B52 bombers.
McEneany and Bob Whitehair, founders of Queens Quiet Skies, an advocacy organization that fights for noise regulations, gave their 26th community education presentation as part of a town hall meeting on the issue organized by Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights). Representatives from the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration were also in attendance.
Lacking a quorum at the meeting, the board voted unanimously as “a committee as a whole” to support the statement, an addendum to comments the EQA had previously sent to the two agencies.
According to Peter Richards, chairman of CB 13’s Parks and Environment Committee, the statement requests that an environmental impact statement be prepared to further investigate the impacts of the Runway 4L/22R Improvements Project. The concern is that conditions experienced in Southeast Queens due to airport activities will be exacerbated by the project, which proposes moving the runway 728 feet closer to the community and lowering aircraft flights by approximately 100 feet over homes.
Queens residents who are tired of loud airplanes flying over their homes too frequently are actually happy about Gov. Cuomo’s veto of a bill that would have required the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to conduct a noise and land use compatibility study — if an identical measure passes in New Jersey — because he doesn’t want to wait.
Instead, he’s taking executive action.
All over Queens, residents say that increased plane noise is affecting their quality of life. However, the neighborhoods of Maspeth and Middle Village have not been known to have this problem because they are located south of LaGuardia Airport, away from departing routes.
Representatives from the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration sought to address the community’s complaints at a Maspeth Town Hall public information meeting hosted by Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) on Nov. 6.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey last Thursday presented a revised plan for Runway 4L/22R at John F. Kennedy International Airport to the Eastern Queens Alliance and an unhappy Rosedale community.
Under its revised plan the 11,351-foot runway would be moved 728 feet closer to Rockaway Boulevard and the neighborhoods that abut JFK.
As if the significant increase in noise from overhead airplanes hasn’t been enough, residents of Whitestone and Malba also have had to contend with excessive disruptions from helicopters passing directly over their houses.
The problem stems from a Federal Aviation Administration mandate last year that choppers traveling between the middle of Long Island to the Hamptons must fly over water in an effort to decrease the overhead noise for residents of the island. Following the requirement, helicopter pilots began seeking a faster and cheaper route, resulting in more flights over northeast Queens.
As one plane after another flew overhead, sometimes drowning out their words, several elected officials, along with area residents, expressed concern over environmental issues facing the borough as a result of proposed changes to flight procedures at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports.
At a press conference at Little Bay Park in Bayside on Tuesday, Representatives Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Grace Meng (D-Flushing) were among those who called on the Federal Aviation Administration to exempt the two airports’ flights from a new rule that would allow the agency to make changes to flight procedures without conducting an environmental review to study the impact of the changes.