Task Force Holds first Meeting

Sets Priorities for Downzoning Parts of Middle Village

Comparatively low interest rates has fueled the real estate market into a frenzy of overdevelopment. Along with many communities, the Juniper Park Civic Association is alarmed at this overdevelopment since most of it is taking place “as of right.” This simply means, the builders are permitted under the current zoning laws, without explanation, to erect these oversized structures.

Since this type of development was never envisioned, no strategies were put in place and the very infrastructure of our neighborhood is now threatened. There is no end in sight and that is the biggest threat.

In an attempt to halt the onslaught, the Middle Village & Maspeth Overdevelopment Task Force was formed and we had our first meeting on May 20, 2004 at Trinity Lutheran Auditorium in Middle Village. There were many volunteers present. The Department of City Planning sent John David Young and Jed Weiss, City Planners to explain the problems and lead us through the maze of complex zoning laws. Both did an excellent job in explaining complicated zoning regulations.

The Task Force looked at maps of Middle Village that displayed the various zoning on the different streets in the neighborhood and the one vicinity that glared out and represented the most threatening possibilities was the area south of Juniper Valley Road to Cooper Avenue. This area shares an R-4 and R-5 zoning, the R-5 being the most ominous for future unwanted development. R5 zones allow more density and larger buildings.

Everyone agreed that South Middle Village would be the first target and the Department of City Planning will provide the Task Force with a list of the houses in that vicinity. Armed with a catalog of the housing stock, the volunteers, working in groups, will canvass the streets noting a description of all the houses. It is a big job, no question, but the Task Force was very highly motivated and determined to get the area quickly down zoned.

Without going into too much detail, the purposes of this article is simply to inform you that we have launched ourselves on the down zone mission to preserve what we have left in Middle Village.

In response to our questions about how lengthy a process this will be, we were heartened to hear from the Department of City Planning people that, once launched, the down zoning could come to fruition very quickly.

We will keep everyone informed on the progress. In the meantime if there are others out there who are as angry and motivated as the existing Task Force volunteers, please feel free to volunteer your time. The more people we have the more quickly we will be successful in preserving our neighborhood for ourselves and our kids, many of whom have resettled in the community. Call or e-mail us if you want to volunteer.