Today’s news:

White House upzoning plan would do more harm than good

I am writing in response to the March 31 editorial in the Bayside Times entitled “A Compromise for Whitestone” in which my position regarding the proposed White House Restaurant upzoning was mischaracterized.

The editorial stated that Borough President Helen Marshal’s recent approval of the upzoning was contingent on the restaurant owner’s agreement “to stipulations requested by the Whitestone community and state Sen. Tony Avella and Councilman Dan Halloran.”

While I cannot speak about any agreements made by the councilman, the stipulation that the upzoming will only apply to the restaurant and not to the area houses was never agreed upon by myself or the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers and Civic Association. The fact is that only upzoning the White House restaurant would not only be an illegal “spot zoning,” but would also fail to dictate the design or type of development for the new building in any binding way beyond what the new zoning envelopes and use groups would allow.

Should the upzoning be passed, there would be no tools in place to ensure that the proposed plans are what ends up being built. In addition to that, should the business fail, there is nothing preventing any future owner of that property from tearing down the existing building and building a monstrosity within the scope of the new zoning.

I continue to maintain that this proposal should be completely withdrawn and resubmitted as a variance with the city Board of Standards and Appeals that describes exactly what the owner will build, is less dense than what he is proposing and does not break the current R2A zoning with no commercial overlay on that block of 154th Street.

Tony Avella

State Senator

(D-Bayside)

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