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Concrete yards may end

Queens homes could soon be seeing more grass and less concrete and autos on their front lawns.
The Department for City Planning (DCP) announced proposed changes in the zoning laws requiring new houses to have a minimum percentage of landscaping in all front yards. It also would prohibit steeply pitched driveways and tall fences in front yards.
“Ensuring that residential developments throughout the five boroughs have adequate yards and green space is critical to creating a livable, sustainable city with a healthy environment and an improved quality of life,” DCP Director Amanda Burden said in a statement. “Landscaped surfaces will absorb storm water, cool the air and make neighborhoods more attractive places to live and raise a family.”
“It’s a very good first step, but we need to do more,” City Councilmember Tony Avella said. He added he would like to see the new rules apply to every home.
Implementing the proposed changes will help the environment and make neighborhoods look better, Avella said. The biggest advantage of landscaped front-yards is that it will help ease the run-off into the city’s sewer system. Avella believes they can help curb the flooding problems with the new rules.
Community boards and borough presidents now have 60 days to review the proposal before it goes back to the City Planning Commission which will hold public hearings on the matter. By this time next year, the DCP hopes to see the new laws implemented, Torres said.
Owner of J & A Landscaping, Tony Prainito, said the law would definitely help his business.
“Yeah it would help me and the other landscapers because it would get us work,” said Prainito.
However, Prainito said he is more concerned with Queens becoming greener than he is with generating business. He said in his 20 years of landscaping he has seen much of the borough turn from grass to concrete.
Prainito said, “If everything turns into concrete I might as well move into the city.”

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