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CB 7 Deserves a ‘Well Done’

This newspaper exists to report on events and issues important to Queens residents and through letters to the editor to give readers a sounding board to express their opinions.

We value these letters and learn from them. In recent issues, Community Board 7 has taken a beating in the letters column. Unfortunately, the criticisms have not always been objective or fair. Although we have not always agreed with CB 7 and said so, we have respect for the members of this board and its leaders.

The city’s community boards play an important role in matters of importance to the communities they represent, including zoning questions, budget issues, the delivery of city services, traffic problems, housing and new development. Although they cannot order the mayor or city agencies to do anything, they serve as advocates for the neighborhoods they represent.

CB 7, which covers the communities of northeast Queens, is one of the most active community boards in the city. The area is rapidly changing. It has a population of 325,000, according to the most recent census, more than half of whom are Asian Americans. The area has undergone or will undergo dramatic change, including the redevelopment of the industrial park in College Point, the planned redevelopment of Willets Point and the development of Flushing Commons. In these projects, CB 7 has played a key role in the approval and planning process.

Anyone who has attended the frequent meetings at CB 7 knows how contentious each can become. The board is constantly presented with the challenge of balancing the character of existing neighborhoods with the borough’s need to change and grow.

We have been impressed by the dedication and professionalism of Chairman Eugene Kelty, Vice Chairman Chuck Apelian and District Manager Marilyn Bitterman. They understand northeast Queens history, city laws and the unique problems of each community. They oversee a board of volunteers that reflects the area’s ethnic diversity.

The board has shown it is unafraid to take on powerful interests when it comes to giving an opinion on land use or zoning. We have never found reason to question the integrity or dedication of CB 7.

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