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Members of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance have begun to collect signatures in support of the group’s push to separate themselves from Community Board 7 and join CB 11, President Warren Schreiber said this week.
Schreiber and other members of the civic organization hope to collect about 5,000 signatures over the next several months, both online and by going door to door. The group presented a “declaration of independence” at its meeting last month, which called for its removal from CB 7 and integration into CB 11.
“We have a really, really wonderful distribution network, so we’re going to be able to get into the co-ops and condos within Bay Terrace to collect signatures because a lot of our members are living there themselves,” Schreiber said. “As the weather gets better, we’ll be out on the streets.”
Alliance members voted unanimously to adopt the declaration and said they wanted to join CB 11 because they felt closer geographically and culturally to the area represented by CB 11, which includes Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Hollis Hills and Oakland Gardens. CB 7 covers Flushing, Whitestone, College Point, Murray Hill and Bay Terrace. The two boards share Auburndale.
The declaration stated that Bay Terrace has “always been part of the historical, geographical, governmental, social and religious fabric of the community of Bayside” and residents have “been forced to remain within Community Board 7 against our will.”
State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) said he supports the move, and City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) has said “it makes sense geographically” for the split to occur. CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said he is “open” to the idea, although CB 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty and Vice Chairman Chuck Apelian have expressed doubts the change would happen.
“We don’t really know if it’s going to happen either, but we’re hoping it will,” Schreiber said. “We’re working hard on it. We just feel we’re part of the fabric of Bayside. It’s nothing against Flushing. Flushing is a vibrant, exciting community, but we’re not part of Flushing.”
The 200-acre section of northeast Queens between 26th Avenue and Fort Totten was originally considered part of Bayside, but it has long been a part of CB 7 despite its being far closer to Bayside and Little Neck than to CB 7’s hub in Flushing.
The Department of City Planning would have the final say as to whether or not the alliance could join CB 7, Schreiber said. The decision would have to wait until the Census numbers come out. District lines will then be drawn based on population, since each community board can represent no more than 250,000 people.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
Note: This article has been updated since publication to correct an error in the headline.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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