CB 11 approves greenmarket

By Rich Bockmann

Douglaston will be a little greener this summer after GrowNYC received approval for its greenmarket Monday night from Community Board 11.

By a vote of 31-8 the board gave GrowNYC the right to close 100 feet of street in the roundabout adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road station, in effect granting approval for the market proper.

“We operate 53 greenmarkets in the city. We’re hoping Douglaston will be our 54th,” said Michael Hurwitz, director of GrowNYC’s greenmarket program, before he gave a presentation that said one of the primary missions of the program is to support small, local farms.

The market will operate Sundays from June 10 until Nov. 20 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. It will include nine to 10 vendors operating out of 14 to 16 tents, one of which will be occupied by a market manager.

Opposition to the application came from residents of the area closest to the market, many of whom appeared to be members of the Doug-Bay Manor Civic Association, who contended the market would bring an influx of traffic that would disrupt the neighborhood and pose a risk to safety.

“Our concern is that the proposed location is unsuitable and would present a health and safety hazard to our community,” said Ann Jawin, the association’s chairwoman.

Hurwitz said that contrary to what one might think given the program’s flagship market in Union Square, most greenmarkets are located in residential communities, and most of the issues brought up during a community board meeting involve parking.

“I’m not going to stand up here and say it won’t bring more traffic to the area. It will — that’s the goal,” Hurwitz said.

Proponents of the application testified to the economic benefit the market would generate for the area and the community’s support, both in the immediate area of the market and the larger communities of Douglaston and Little Neck.

Lisa Lempel-Sander, of the Douglaston Local Development Corp., said she had reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for reduced parking rates in their lot and that the Community Church of Douglaston would allow parking in its lot from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The application was approved for a period of roughly five months, after which GrowNYC would need to come back to the community board for another application.

Lee Fiorino, of the city Department of Finance, spoke to community members about the city’s upcoming lien sale. Fiorino said there are 121 at-risk properties in CB 11 and she can remove some from the list if they qualify for certain exemptions, such as those for seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and active-duty service members. She urged those in attendance to reach out to their neighbors and inform anyone who may qualify.

“To have somebody be at risk of losing their house over $1,000 is really a shame,” she said.

The last day to pay is Aug. 1. Fiorino can be reached at 212-669-8503.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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