By Ayala Ben-Yehuda
Sievers, society co-president Julia Schoeck and executive committee member Kevin Wolfe met Jan. 14 with Landmarks Commission Chairman Robert Tierney, commission staff and Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who led a rally the week before to press for landmark status for Douglaston Hill.
“Under pressure of public outcry and press coverage, the commission has relented,” said Sievers. “There's movement again.”
Preservationists have been trying to get landmark status for the neighborhood between Northern Boulevard, the Long Island Rail Road, Douglaston Parkway and part of 244th Street since 1989. The designation would protect the turn-of-the-century homes from demolition and would require external renovations to be in keeping with the area's character.
A spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission said last week that the agency had tentatively decided not to landmark Douglaston Hill but was willing to consider additional information.
“They've agreed with my request to take another look at the situation and perhaps do a smaller version of what was originally proposed,” said Avella.
Sievers said the commission asked his group last week to resubmit its proposal “with modified district outlines,” meaning a smaller area. But he did not know which part of the proposed district would be cut out of the plan.
“They have to make another site visit,” said Sievers. “The problem is they gave us no date for a visit and consequently there is no fixed date for when this is going to be calendared. We have to keep the momentum going.”
Time became a critical issue last fall when a 1901 Queen Anne home at 240-35 43rd Ave. went up for sale and word spread among neighbors that it would be demolished by a developer.
The home's listing agent said last week “the sale is dead,” but the selling agent said it was still in contract.
“We impressed upon the commissioner that there is a time pressure issue here,” said Avella.
The Douglaston Civic Association had a letter-writing meeting planned for Tuesday night to pressure Tierney and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to designate Douglaston Hill a historic district.
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.