Today’s news:

Juniper civic takes look at initial plan for rezoning

The Juniper Park Civic Association got its first glimpse of the rezoning plan for parts of Middle Village, Maspeth and Glendale at its monthly meeting last week.

Paul Graziano, a land use consultant hired by the civic, said the proposal unveiled by the Department of City Planning, largely resembles the one he drew up and sent to the agency, but he was concerned that roughly 40 blocks of the study would remain unchanged.

That area, an R−4 zone dominated by row houses, was not part of the agency’s plan because development has been stagnant there and it could not find an appropriate contextual zone, according to DCP liaison Tom Smith.

But Graziano said he feared that with other parts of the neighborhood rezoned, developers would hone in on the unchanged area and start building. He proposed a one− and two−family front−loading row−house district for the area.

Smith said areas in Brooklyn are content with the R−4 zone. Graziano shot back, “But this is Queens. I love Brooklyn, but this has to do with Middle Village and Maspeth.”

Juniper Park Civic Association President Bob Holden agreed and said he has issues with part of the zoning plan that allows so−called infill.

He said infill lets builders construct three−family homes and are required to have only one parking space for the house.

Holden said the civic originally told the DCP that if infill were eliminated, it would not have had to request a rezoning.

“We’re going to fight to keep our one−family attached homes,” he said.

While Holden focused on the drawbacks of the plan, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D−Middle Village) said the proposal was sufficient on the whole.

“We’re going to take this for now because it protects a lot of the areas,” she said.

Crowley noted that a six−week environmental review process of the rezoning is underway and she believed it would become law by early May at the latest.

But Smith gave a target date of late summer or early fall.

The civic also voiced its disapproval of a city Department of Education plan to build a 1,100−seat high school at 74th Street and 57th Avenue in Middle Village, claiming the area’s demographics do not warrant the school building.

Holden said 73 percent of Middle Village households have no children and that the area is already served by two public high schools: Grover Cleveland and Newtown.

“If you look at who needs the seats, it’s not Middle Village and Maspeth,” he said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

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