OUTRAGE OVER HOUSE ON TRAFFIC ISLE
Many of us have always dreamed of
living on an island. Well, a Bellerose family seems to be getting their
wish. Due to some breakdown in community vigilance, the City sold a piece
of land on Commonwealth Boulevard that everyone thought was just an island.
Now, a house is being built on it.
The house is rising on Commonwealth Boulevard and 85th Avenue, in the Bellerose-Commonwealth
Civic Association territory. The house is surrounded on all sides by streets.
It used to be maintained by the civic association, but under orders from
the Mayor to sell as much City-owned land as possible, this lot which apparently
had originally been privately owned and then taken by the City for non-payment
of taxes, was sold for $ 24,000.
Civic Treasurer Jim Trent has called for the City Council to appropriate
funds for condemnation and demolition of the house and restoration of the
plot as a traffic island and mapping of the street bed. "It's time to draw
a line in the sand," he said. Bellerose Commonwealth Civic will explore
this option. This lot should never have been put up for auction, but Councilman
Leffler's office had not been notified or it would have been most likely
possible to have the auction stopped.
Anger over this issue is heightened by two other threats to the architectural
integrity of our community: The possible demolition of a Cape Cod house
next to the Glen Oaks Ambulance Corps on Union Turnpike and its replacement
with a combination doctors' office and church that would stand 44 feet
high and cover almost the entire oversized lot. The Lost Community
Civic Association has been beside itself with rage.
In Queens Village, near 221st Street and 92nd Avenue, an owner of a
typical ‘20s Dutch colonial is erecting a tower in the backyard, attached
to the main house only at the first floor, and topped with a shed roof
which is as tall as the main house. This monstrosity was the owner's
response to being served with a violation over having converted the main
house into an illegal two-family home. The Building Department has
certified this extension as legal.
Clearly, Queens is under siege by developers, speculators, and opportunists
using "community facilities" and other zoning loop- holes to destroy our
neighborhoods. Make a buck and never mind what becomes of the neighborhood
seems to be the motto. At our November meeting, we will discuss our
response to these attacks.
BELLEROSE MEANS BUSINESS
The Joint Bellerose Business District
Development Corporation is on a roll. They have so many projects
and grants underway at once that it is mind-boggling to keep up.
Not counting dues income, they have raised $32,600 so far. Of course
there was a slow start, taking two years, for example, just to become incorporated.
And many people were impatient, but there is no way that 30 years of decline
can be reversed overnight. Even with all the projects on the drawing board
now, we are still only scratching the surface in making a real dent.
The District finally received its funds from Nassau County and has begun
to pay the consultant for his preliminary report on the existing conditions
of the Jamaica Avenue/Jericho Turnpike strip. It has started taking
bids for developing a logo and directory for all the businesses in Bellerose
along with wooden carved welcome signs.
In addition, Sen. Frank Padavan has cleared the way for a $10,000 grant
for installing welcome banners on the lampposts, expanding the printing
of the directory (printing extra copies beyond what we can afford
under the Senator Balboni grant) and to underwrite
the cost of designing the logo. The logo is important because it
will help to create a sense of place and identity for our town. We
have been exploring as a 1999 project printing a cartoon map of the district
allowing participating merchants to use the map as a source of promotion.
Estimated cost: $14,000.
Also being discussed, but not yet approved, is the plan to remove the
galvanized lampposts in the center of the avenue and replace them with
historically correct "Type M" cast iron lampposts. These are the
same as used to stand in Bellerose from the 1930s until the 1960s.
These beautiful ornamental poles will add grace and distinction to our
town. If the plan is approved by the Board of directors, we will
seek some $300,000 in funding for the work and have already be given a
tentative nod from one source for providing the funds. About 40 poles would
be installed from the Queens Village border to the Floral Park border,
with new, stronger footings to support the heavier poles.
In the meantime, the plywood boardings on the Bellerose Theatre have
been repainted making the desolate place much less wretched looking.
Further west on Jamaica Avenue, a motel is being erected next to the abandoned
Burger King in Queens Village. Whether this will be a hot sheets
hotel or a legitimate place for race track fans, like the Floral Park Motor
Lodge, remains to be seen.
AROUND THE TOWN
Congratulations to: Rick Duskiewicz
of Lyman Street who received an award from the 105 Police Precinct Crime
Prevention Program for the design and creation of a display of locks.
It will be used by the Crime Prevention Officer in his presentations.