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Get Flushing rezone done in 4 months: Avella

City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) said last Thursday he hopes to streamline the public approval process for the proposed North Flushing rezoning plan to get the long−awaited project completed in three to four months instead of the typical seven months.

Speaking at a public hearing held by Community Boards 7 and 11 on the rezoning plan, Avella said across−the−board community agreement on the proposal should allow it to move forward in an expedited fashion, which he contended would limit the damage developers could do while more lenient zoning exists in the area.

“The faster we can get this zoning through, the better,” Avella said. “In the meantime, you have to be the eyes and ears for us on this. You’re going to see developers trying to beat the clock and get projects done before the new zoning goes into effect. We’ve seen it with every rezoning we’ve done across the city in the last 10 years.”

The community boards held the hearing at Holy Cross High School last Thursday, where City Planning Project Manager Brendan Pillar detailed the rezoning plans.

Plans to rezone 257 blocks of North Flushing, Broadway−Flushing, Auburndale and Bayside were formalized earlier this month when Department of City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden announced the agency had started the public approval process.

The public approval process, or Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, takes approximately seven months to complete as community boards, the borough president, the DCP and the City Council hold hearings and ultimately vote on any public project in New York City.

“This is a very good application,” Avella said. “Every issue we’ve raised, they [the DCP] have done it. They have really been great at addressing the community’s concerns on this.”

CB 7 was expected to host the first public hearing on the proposal at the Holy Cross High School Auditorium at 26−20 Francis Lewis Blvd. this Thursday at 7 p.m.

The rezoning, designed to protect the single−family home communities from overdevelopment, has been delayed for several years as the DCP undertook larger, more complicated plans, such as the rezoning of Jamaica, which passed last year.

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.

CB 7 was expected to vote on the rezoning at its monthly meeting Feb. 10 at the Union Plaza Care Center at 32−23 Union St. in Flushing.

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

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