New Effort Launched to Address Over-Development in Queens
Residents Vent Frustrations About Zoning, Development
by Joel Weickgenant, Queens Chronicle Correspondent
The Quinn Building in Astoria was the launching point Saturday for the Long Island City Alliance’s campaign to challenge the nature of development in Queens.
“We want to say to the politicians that we understand it’s going to be developed, but we want a structured development system,” said Patrick Comaskey, president of the alliance, talking to a crowd of about 60 residents, students and community activists.
The grass roots organization hosted what it called a “get to know you” session and called the meeting to announce that it will make zoning its top focus in 2007. Specifically, the group plans to fight for downzoning in residential, low rise neighborhoods and draw attention to the problems caused by overcrowding. Comaskey said his group is planning a meeting later this year, where he hopes to address the concerns with local elected officials.
Saturday’s session was billed as a first step to encourage members of the community to get involved. “We need to get power and movement behind us,” Comaskey said. “We need a correction in zoning on certain blocks, wherever that may be.”
Comaskey, land use consultant Paul Graziano and Christina Wilkinson, secretary of Juniper Park Civic Association, made their concerns about overdevelopment visible during the meeting. They displayed photographs of buildings that could be knocked down under current zoning laws, including homes and churches, as well as new buildings in Astoria that have replaced older structures on blocks around 37th and 38th streets, and elsewhere.