Board 5 Back Ridgewood Redevelopment
The proposed rezoning of an industrial portion of Ridgewood from manufacturing to residential use was recommended by Community Board 5 at its monthly meeting last Wednesday, Apr. 9, at Middle Village’s Christ the King Regional High School.
The resolution was recommended 28-11, but not before objections were raised by long-time board members who pushed an alternative plan to allow for some semblance of industry in the rezoning area generally bounded by Starr Street, Flushing Avenue, Woodward Avenue and Onderdonk Avenue.
Several residents living in close proximity spoke in support of building the three-story residence at 176 Woodward Ave., an undeveloped lot on the corner of Starr Street primarily used for storing construction equipment and vehicles.
The rezoning will allow the developer to erect the 88 unit property in Ridgewood and the zoning changes to the area could bring more residential building to the rezoned section.
This rezoning changes the designation from an M1-1 district to an R5B and R6B district.
Residents that spoke in support of the rezoning included Dan Russo who has lived on Starr Street for five years. In his comments he described the area as currently being full of empty lots, pollution and vice.
“If this doesn’t go through, it will be back to the trucks and prostitution,” he said. “Between the trucks and the prostitution, we’re just tired of this.”
Jim Roggio’s mother and his niece’s family live Starr Street, next door to the lot. Roggio described being on the roof and seeing a great view of the Manhattan skyline, then looking down and “it’s a junkyard next door.”
An anecdote describes his family’s travails with rodents.
“We have had every kind of exterminator,” he said.
Prior to the vote, veteran community board members Paul Kerzner and Ted Renz presented an alternative proposal to change the zoning to an M-X designation which would allow for both manufacturing and residential uses.
Both were concerned a vote to rezone solely residential will further hurt small manufacturing and light industrial business in the area.
“There are many businesses just this far away from having to leave the city,” Kerzner said.
“I think we can all agree we don’t like what is there now, he said. Then addressing the board, he added he believes of his M-X proposal, “this is a lifeline,” and urged members “do not squander it.”
The plan would mandate manufacturing uses for lower floors, with residential units above.
Kerzner and Renz issued a minority report in support and visited a mixed-use knitting factory to support their position.
Renz also weighed in and said it’s the responsibility of the board to be “in the planning business, planning for the future of this community.”
The owner of the site Renz and Kerzner visited would like to relocate his business to the Ridgewood are, according to Renz.
Tom Smith of the Department of City Planning was not convinced by this argument and said “I don’t see this as a quick solution for this site.”
He added, “I’m not sure if this is the solution for this particular site. I dont know if it would work,” Smith said.
But Joseph Pergolese, a Troutman Street resident for 20 years said he is tired of seeing no changes in the area.
“We would really feel this would be quite an improvement,” he said of himself and others that support the project.
“It’s time for a change. To me the M1-1 zoning is not working,” he added
Pergolese also touched on changes coming to Ridgewood in the form of new residents looking for housing and believes “a lot of these people coming from the city are coming to us.”
“As the world changes we need to change with it,” he said.
Though the recommendation was approved, Renz will continue to advocate for M-X designation at this site and elsewhere in Queens.
“It’s not over yet,” Renz said by phone, referring to approvals the project must receive from the Department of City Planning and the borough president’s office.
“For me it’s a policy issue because we have lost so many manufacturing jobs in the city,” he said.
District manager report
As part of his report to the board, District Manager Gary Giordano updated the community on a sewer rehabilitation project coming to the area. The project is necessitated by flooding in several Queens neighborhoods following rainstorms.
The initial stages of the rehabilitation will be along Calamus Avenue to 69th Street in Maspeth According to Giordano, Con Edison has begun moving electric cables from on side of the street to the other to prepare for the sewer work.
Giordano also gave an update on the Knockdown Center. He told residents that the venue is still trying to get a public assembly permit and the expects the community will be informed of the State Liquor Board’s decision on their liquor license application by the end of the month.
He also briefly reacted to the news that rapper M.I.A. is scheduled to play the center in May.
“I’ve been told she could fill the Barclays Center,” he said.
He then mentioned he believes the center is not an appropriate place for such large shows because the neighborhood “may look industrial, but there are residences all around the corner in the area,” he said.
The following liquor license applications were received by the board:
– New liquor license applications for John’s Bar Corp, d.b.a. John’s Bar at 64-63 Dry Harbor Rd. in Middle Village; and Full Guard Inc., d.b.a. Outlaws, at 61-08 Flushing Ave. in Maspeth.
– Liquor license renewals for 7th Street Rest Corp., d.b.a. The Cozy Corner, at 60-01 70th Ave. in Ridgewood; and Shivalik Restaurant Corp., d.b.a. Maurya Cuisine of India, at 63-108A Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park.
– New wine or beer licenses for Jorge’s Restaurant Corp., located at at 689 Seneca Ave. in Ridgewood; and Olde Boys Enterprises Inc., d.b.a. The Monk, at 68-67 Fresh Pond Rd. in Ridgewood.
– Wine or beer license renewals for Leone’s Pizzeria & Restaurant Inc. d.b.a. Leone’s Pizza at 84-02 Cooper Ave. in Glendale.
– Corporate notifications for KRG Pub Inc., d.b.a. Bridie’s Bar & Grill at 63-28 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park, with James Munson named the new principal owner, replacing Kevin Killarney; and Pollos Mario Woodhaven Corp. at 63-20 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park, with Oscar Franco, the current shareholder, transfering his shares to Jacqueline Franco.
Those that wish to comment on any of the applications can call board 5’s ofices at 1-718-366-1834.
Additionally, demolition notices were submitted for properties located at 89-02 Metropolitan Ave. and 89-30 Cooper Ave. in Glendale. Board members were advised to keep a careful eye on activities at the location and to report any questionable activities.
Community Board 5 holds its monthly board meeting on the second Wednesday of every month at 7:30 at Christ the King high school located at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village.