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Queens Chronicle

Hamilton: no more giant developments

Residents approve zoning plan that would prohibit semi-detached homes

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Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2016 10:30 am

Hamilton Beach residents last Wednesday overwhelmingly voted in favor of a zoning proposal that would only allow for detached one- or two-family homes to be built in the neighborhood and prohibit the future construction of multifamily semi-detached buildings — houses that many said don’t fit in with the character of the area.

“We’ve heard that the semi-detached homes are not desirable in this neighborhood,” Melissa Herlitz, a planner with the city Department of City Planning, said at a community meeting hosted by the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association.

With only a handful dissenting, the vote was cast by about 30 people — a fact that some said should have stopped it from taking place until more people could have their say.

“You cannot say that you’re going to represent 450 families and take a vote,” one resident said.

Roger Gendron, president of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association, refuted that, saying he didn’t think he’d get 30 people to show up to the meeting.

“I’m thrilled to see this amount of people in this room,” Gendron said. “In any community, there’s only a handful of people who get involved.”

Residents who attended the meeting were given three choices by planning officials: Leave the zoning as it is, allow only one-family homes to be built and the one they approved. The vast majority of Hamilton Beach residents did not want to go for the first option, citing semi-detached houses in the neighborhood that are “out of character” and bring more cars onto a block than there are parking spots.

The second option wasn’t desirable because it would stop anyone with a large enough lot from building a two-family structure — minimum lot size for new construction will be determined at a later date.

The civic is in the process of sending a letter to DCP with its recommendations on the plan before the start of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure — the seven-month process that brings the proposal to the community board, borough president and City Council for approval.

Gendron and Pat McCabe, chief of staff for state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), said it was important for the residents to give their recommendations to DCP officials as soon as possible to prevent any more semi-detached homes from being built in the neighborhood.

Any structures already in the neighborhood would be grandfathered in.

“Stop talking about it and take a vote,” McCabe said, shortly before Gendron called for a show of hands.

The civic president noted that if the zoning proposal is approved by the City Council prior to any “significant construction” being started on the proposed structures abhorred by residents, they wouldn’t go up.

Significant construction was defined as builders having at least the foundation put in for a new development — simply putting a construction fence around the site wouldn’t count, the planners said.

“Time is important now,” Gendron added. “We have a chance to stop this.”

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1 comment:

  • Nancy F posted at 2:56 pm on Fri, Jan 29, 2016.

    Nancy F Posts: 1

    I was against it from the beginning but was told that it was " PROGRESS " and that it was good for the neighborhood . It's too late now , you allowed a once beautiful , peaceful beach community to be destroyed ...
    Like · Reply ·