Today’s news:

Flushing rezone set for next year: Avella

The long−awaited North Flushing rezoning plan could be approved as soon as spring 2009 after years of delays, City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) said Monday.

Avella said the City Planning Commission has met with his office and area civics several times over the course of the last few months and appears to be on the cusp of presenting its final plan to preserve the largely single−family home community by early next year.

“I think we’re looking at certification in early January, but I’m pushing for it to be earlier,” Avella said. “I think if we get everyone working together on this, I’m talking about the community board and the borough president’s office, then we could get this done by March or April.”

The rezoning, designed to protect the single−family home communities in Broadway−Flushing, Linden Hill and a portion of Bayside from overdevelopment, has been delayed for several years as the CPC undertook larger, more complicated plans, such as the rezoning of Jamaica, which passed last year.

Paul Graziano, an urban planner and president of the Historic Districts Council, said work on the proposal has ramped up in recent months and he commended the CPC for moving quickly on the plan.

“While we were promised over three years ago that this rezoning was going to occur, the fact that it’s actually happening now is great,” said Graziano, who has aided in rezoning plans for much of northern Queens in the last five years. “I give City Planning a lot of credit for acting now and acting quickly to get this done.”

The rezoning plan would cover an area bordered by Union Street to the west, 25th Avenue and Willets Point Boulevard to the north, Francis Lewis Boulevard and the Clearview Expressway to the east and Northern Boulevard and Long Island Rail Road tracks to the south.

Both Graziano and Avella said they have been impressed by the CPC’s willingness to meet with and negotiate aspects of its original proposal.

“For the most part, they’ve gone ahead with almost every recommendation that’s been made,” Avella said.

The north Flushing rezoning, if approved by the Council, is one of three rezonings within Community Board 7 that have been in the pipeline for several years. The Waldheim rezoning was approved by the Council earlier this year and the CPC said plans to rezone Auburndale remain in the works.

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

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