Bay Terrace civic takes secession case to CB 11

Bay Terrace Community Alliance President Warren Schreiber (c.) stands with members of his group after adopting a declaration of independence in December that proposes switching the neighborhood from Community Board 7 to Community Board 11. Photo By Connor Adams Sheets
By Connor Adams Sheets

Bay Terrace Community Alliance President Warren Schreiber officially brought the neighborhood’s proposal to switch community boards before Community Board 11 for the first time Monday night, calling himself “the troublemaker” for pushing the controversial plan.

Under the proposal, which drew a range of opinions from CB 11 members and is backed by alliance members who voted last month to unanimously support it, the neighborhood would leave Community Board 7 and join CB 11.

The move would benefit Bay Terrace, BTCA members say, because they feel like they are more a part of the culture of CB 11’s hub of Bayside than Flushing in CB 7 and because it would also change their police precinct from the 109th to the 111th, which is half the distance away from the neighborhood.

“Community Board 7 is a very hardworking board with dedicated members …. but it’s not the right board for Bay Terrace. If you look at the map, we’re part of the fabric of Bayside,” Schreiber told CB 11. “We’re not looking to rock the boat …. but we’re hoping that moving forward we’ll have your friendship and support.”

The 200-acre section of northeast Queens between 26th Avenue and Fort Totten was originally considered part of Bayside, but it has long been a part of CB 7 despite its being far closer to Bayside and Little Neck than to Flushing. Bay Terrace is also close to Whitestone, which is a part of CB 7.

CB 7 covers Flushing, Whitestone, College Point, Murray Hill and Bay Terrace, while CB 11 includes Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Hollis Hills and Oakland Gardens. The two boards share Auburndale.

CB 11 member Frank Skala spoke in opposition to the BTCA plan, saying it would bring an added burden to the mostly residential district. Bay Terrace has a number of high-rise condo and rental apartment buildings.

“We are very quiet residential areas, we don’t have massive apartment buildings, we don’t have co-ops and we don’t want them,” he said. “The police will be stretched thinner, the 111th will be stretched thinner …. there’s a lot of downside to it and we should be very, very careful.”

But CB 11 member Andy Rothman offered support for the measure, saying it makes sense for the neighborhood.

“When I think of Bay Terrace, I think of Bayside, and I think it’s important they have the assistance of the 111th, which is right here in Bayside,” he said.

BTCA adopted a “declaration of independence” by a unanimous vote last month, outlining the reasons why the alliance wants Bay Terrace to switch community boards.

Assemblyman-elect Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) has shown his support for the plan, and City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) has said “it makes sense geographically” for the split to occur. CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said last month he was “open” to the idea, but CB 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty and Vice Chairman Chuck Apelian have expressed doubts the move will actually occur.

The Department of City Planning would have the final say as to whether or not the alliance could join CB 7, Schreiber said. The decision would have to wait until the latest Census numbers come out. District lines will then be drawn based on population since each community board can represent only 250,000 people.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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