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A lawmaker wants to see Middle Village included in the Community Board's discussion of rezoning.

With illegal conversions continuing to grow into a major concern for residents of many Queens neighborhoods, Councilman Robert Holden is calling for significant zoning changes throughout Council District 30.

In a statement released on May 10, Holden said that he wants the Department of City Planning (DCP) to create for all the neighborhoods in his district — Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, Woodhaven and Woodside — a single-family rowhouse zoning designation to prevent them from being converted into multi-family homes.

“These conversions are not only changing the character of the community, they also place undue strain on the neighborhood’s infrastructure, impede the ability to offer admission to already overcrowded area schools, and create mass amounts of traffic in a district already heavily congested thanks to the lack of public transportation options,” Holden said.

The statement came one week after hosting his first town-hall-style “Conversations with your Councilman” meeting on May 2 at his Middle Village office, where illegal conversions were the most talked about concern among the residents who attended.

The next day, news of a three-story housing development coming to Middle Village on May 3 prompted the councilman to say that it was “disturbing” that the developer could build this legally within the current zoning code.

According to his May 10 statement, Holden wrote a letter to DCP Director Marisa Lago in March to request a zoning text amendment that would create a downzone and therefore prevent multi-family housing conversions by establishing a single-family rowhouse designation.

In her response letter, Lago said that the DCP does not intend to make that change at this time and that the agency’s priority is “addressing the city’s pressing affordable housing and social equity needs.”

Also in the letter, which DCP sent a copy of to QNS after a request for comment, Lago referenced zoning changes that were made to the area over the past two decades and said that they are “a very good fit for lower density rowhouse blocks.”

Lago added that the zoning changes the DCP will make in the city going forward will be focused on neighborhood plans that create permanently affordable apartments and business spaces.

But Holden’s points about congestion and overcrowding clearly resonate with the members of the community, and a recent report backs up the councilman’s concerns.

According to a City Council report in March, the number of unfunded seats in School District 24 — which covers the majority of Holden’s Council district — is the highest in Queens with 4,702. Essentially, that means that District 24 is 4,702 students over capacity, the second highest number in the entire city.

Holden intends to continue fighting for the rowhouse designation, however, because he believes that the continued growth in population will lower the quality of life for the residents of his district.

“These neighborhoods each have their own brand of small-town allure, some with beautiful architecture dating back to the early 19th century,” he said. “I would like to see the addition of a single-family rowhouse zoning designation so that we can further protect the integrity of our neighborhoods.”


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