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The City Planning Commission pushed a text amendment to the Queens Borough Board Monday it said would vastly improve the aesthetic of public waterfront areas across the city without dramatically altering the current requirements on developers mandated by city law.
Queens City Planning Director John Young was on hand at Queens Borough Hall to explain the proposal to Borough President Helen Marshall and the heads of Queens’ 14 community boards and said the amendment primarily seeks to alter existing requirements on residential and commercial developers to allow for better public access to waterfront areas.
The city now requires moderate−to−high density residential and commercial developers to provide and maintain public access to waterfront areas on their property but along very straight, narrow corridors that often do not provide much access to water or seating because of their rigid design.
“All that this is trying to do is say instead of this rigid shoreline walkway, the walkway can now curve,” Young said. “This is not changing the existing requirements. This is already the law.”
Young said that by allowing curves in shoreline walkways, it would be easier to create public access to the water itself as well as larger grassy areas with plantings and trees that are more conducive to recreational activity and seating.
Marshall threw her support behind the plan.
“Wherever we can, I think we should encourage this,” she said. “Waterfront access adds something really special to our borough.”
Members of several community boards, which will vote on the project in the coming month, expressed concerns about enforcement of developers’ maintenance of the areas, which Young said would fall on the city Parks Department.
“Look, it’s never easy to get a plan that benefits the entire city,” said City Councilman John Liu (D−Flushing). “But this is really to encourage the use of our long−lost assets — the waterfront. And even if it’s not perfect, that’s something I have to support.”
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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