Today’s news:

Avella pushing North Flushing rezone for April

City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) said he is attempting to ensure that a long−awaited project to rezone 257 blocks in Bayside, East Flushing and a portion of Auburndale is in effect by April at the latest.

The project would rezone 50 blocks in northern Bayside and more than 200 blocks in Flushing and Auburndale as well as establishing a new R1−2A zoning district, which would allow for a maximum 35−foot roof height. The rezoning is split between Bayside’s Community Board 11 and Flushing’s Community Board 7.

Avella, chairman of the Council Zoning and Franchises Committee, said he wants to make sure the rezoning project is approved quickly to prevent developers from getting foundations in the ground before it passes.

“I’ve been trying to make sure it moves forward expeditiously,” he said. “Even though the economy has slowed down, our neighborhoods are still very attractive to developers. And once they learn that a rezoning is in the process, they rush in immediately.”

Borough President Helen Marshall viewed the plan, which has been approved by both CB 7 and 11, but has yet to approve it. The project will then go before the Department of City Planning and the Council for approval. Avella said he believes it could be put into effect by mid−April at the latest.

“We’ve been working on this for at least the last four years,” CB 11 member Henry Euler said. “Everybody is in favor of it.”

The Council is expected to vote on the project at its March 18 meeting, he said.

The boundaries for the project are 25th Avenue in the north, the Clearview Expressway and Francis Lewis Boulevard in the east, the Long Island Rail Road and Northern Boulevard in the south and Union Street in the west.

The project would allow for single−family homes and prevent large apartment buildings that have been constructed in the district in recent years.

CB 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said the project only covers a small part of the board’s district.

“We’ve really wanted more in the Auburndale area to be rezoned,” she said.

Seinfeld said the board also wants the southern portion of Auburndale to be rezoned as well as sections of Hollis Hills and Oakland Gardens. City Planning is expected to look at plans to rezone those neighborhoods in the spring, she said.

A plan to rezone Auburndale could be reviewed by the Council within a few months, Avella said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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