Gallagher Calls For
City Councilmember Dennis Gallagher has called for a moratorium on all building in the borough, saying "You can’t go anywhere in Queens County without seeing the issue of overdevelopment."
A full-to-capacity audience gathered at Trinity Lutheran Church hall for the April meeting of the Juniper Park Civic Association. He said that the moratorium was needed to protect the character of their Middle Village community from a zoning system that makes no sense. "We can no longer continue to build and build without seeing some of the consequences," he said pointing to several planned projects in Middle Village: a 41-unit condominium or cooperative at Mt. Olivet Crescent, at least 50 apartment units on a dead-end street on Admiral Avenue and the 68 two-bedroom cooperative units under construction in nearby Glendale at what was once a knitting mill.
"This is a problem and I’m calling on our mayor [Michael Bloomberg] to request a need for an overdevelopment task force in Queens County," Gallagher said.
A major complaint throughout the borough is the replacement of one- and two-family homes with multiple unit dwellings on the same site. A task force to study the same issue of overdevelopment in the borough of Staten Island was established last year. That task force made a series of recommendations that resulted in a number of favorable zoning changes toward retaining the one- and two-family residence character of neighborhoods.
There is an effort underway by the Queens Office of City Planning to downzone several Queens neighborhoods in cooperation with the Office of the Queens Borough President, but it is not boroughwide.
"Let’s protect and preserve the quality of life in our community," Gallagher concluded.
In another issue pertaining to quality of life, JPCA president Bob Holden said the low number of police officers at the 104th Police Precinct has affected problems such as graffiti, speeding and burglary in the community. "We don’t have a deterrent, we don’t have a police presence," he said. "We don’t have major crime but we do have major quality of life issues that are making people move away."
Holden said, "We need the beat cop, cops with scooters, bicycles, we need a dedicated officer," and challenged the Bloomberg administration to return to community policing in Middle Village and Maspeth. "We understand [community policing] may not work in Manhattan, that’s not our concern," he stated.
Holden called on Assistant Chief James Tuller, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens North to address the shortage of police needed to cover the 7.4 miles of the 104th Precinct.
"Historically, Chief Tuller doesn’t attend our meetings," said Holden. (A representative for Chief Tuller attended the JPA meeting.) "We’re not happy with Chief Tuller. We’d like to see his face at our meetings or at COP 104 meetings. We know he attends 112th Precinct council meetings with [Police] Commissioner [Raymond] Kelly. Why won’t he come to Juniper Park Civic?" Holden asked.
"Chief Tuller and Commissioner Kelly have an open invitation and we’re going to hold Mayor Bloomberg responsible as to why Chief Tuller and Commissioner Kelly won’t come to our meetings," Holden reiterated.