Today’s news:

Residents get first look at Glendale rezoning proposal

After years of delays, a long−awaited plan to downzone areas of Glendale and Middle Village was unveiled at a Glendale Property Owners’ Association meeting last Thursday, earning general approval from the three dozen or so residents who attended.

“This is going to do a lot to preserve our community and we appreciate the effort,” said Brian Dooley, president of the property owners’ association, praising the work of city planner Tom Smith, who worked with numerous civic groups and Community Board 5 to develop the plan.

Former City Councilman Anthony Como also praised Smith.

“He came in and really took a ball that was thrown into his lap and ran with it,” Como said.

The plan, which has been in the works for several years, involves altering the zoning in eastern and western Glendale to more closely match the existing buildings.

Much of these remaining areas of Glendale that were not part of the 2006 rezoning is zoned for R5 development, a higher−density designation that allows for apartment buildings up to four stories.

The rezone would replace much of this with R4−1 and R4A, which both allow for one− and two−family homes up to three stories. Commercial strips along Myrtle Avenue and elsewhere in the district would be zoned R5D, which allows for continued first−floor commercial use.

The plan could be certified by the city agency by late March or early April, Smith said. It could be passed by the Council by September, he said.

“A lot of people have put into this,” Smith said. “There’s been a lot of detailed work.”

Not every aspect of the plan met with approval, however.

Some residents complained that the downzoning would not prevent property owners from adding a second story to certain townhouses on stretches of 83rd and 88th streets, but Smith said that preventing such additions would require the creation of a new zoning category, which would delay the rezoning plan for months.

There was also talk of people in Middle Village demanding a similar new zoning category, which would also hold up the Glendale rezoning.

“Glendale needs to be done,” said Kathy Masi. “Whether Middle Village likes it or not. Glendale needs to be separated if it comes to that.”

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D−Middle Village) said she would discuss the possibility with the Department of City Planning.

“If Middle Village is not happy, then let us go forward and push this through,” she said.

But Smith, who has also worked with the influential Middle Village−based Juniper Park Civic Association, said he doubted it would be an issue.

The plan goes to the Juniper Park civic this Thursday for its review of the Middle Village component.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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