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College Pt. Corp. Pk. to be special district

The Department of City Planning has promised to set up a special zoning district for the College Point Corporate Park which would mirror the zoning limitations of the soon-to-expire Urban Renewal Area agreement, the head of the Community Board 7 Zoning Committee said this week.

Chairman Chuck Apelian.

CB 7 has long been fighting for a special zoning district in the 550-acre park and Chuck Apelian, the Zoning chairman, said City Planning's promise to move forward in addressing those concerns is a positive step. First established in 1968, the Urban Renewal Plan, which sets development requirements for new construction in the area, is set to expire in April 2009.

"Their renewal plan has a little bit more stricter limitations than the underlying zoning in the district does. What we want to do is just have some protection in place," Apelian said.

City Planning could not be reached for comment.

The College Point Corporate Park is currently home to some of the largest businesses in Queens, including The New York Times printing and distribution plant, Crystal Windows and Door Systems and a group of big box stores including Target and BJ's Wholesale Club. Were the Urban Renewal Plan to expire without the implementation of a Special Zoning District, larger manufacturing companies and adult establishments would be able to enter the area, which abuts a number of quiet residential communities.

"We don't want to make anything worse. We just don't want it to be any better for [developers]," Apelian said.

A Special Zoning District would be especially important to future plans involving the abandoned Flushing Airport site, which has been a bone of contention between members of the community and the city Economic Development Corporation. The EDC would like to see the 24-acre site developed.

City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said he would welcome the implementation of a Special Zoning District, but added that he would believe it when he sees it.

"It would be positive depending upon if they address the concerns that we have brought up as a community," Avella said. "I just want to make sure they don't throw something in there at the last minute as they've been prone to do recently. The devil is in the details."

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Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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