BY SAM RAPPAPORT
State Senator Tony Avella recently called on the city to stop what he calls the overdevelopment and out-of-character construction of semi-attached and row-attached homes in his Northeast Queens district.
The issue, Avella said, is one that he has been working on since his days in the City Council. He asserted that the construction of these attached homes destroys the neighborhood’s character and damages the property value of the houses to which they are joined.
“It is disgraceful that the city of New York still allows this to happen,” Avella said at a Thursday press conference. “As I have been calling on for years, there needs to be new zoning codes and regulations that give semi-attached [and] row-attached homeowners basic rights to prevent these situations. The laws as they are currently written do not make sense, and innocent homeowners are getting stuck living next to these monstrosities.”
Avella introduced a bill in the state Senate that would combat the construction of these attached homes by allowing local communities to design and propose architectural districts. By allowing the creation of these districts, according to Avella, Architectural District Bill S. 1531 would give residents the opportunity to retain the unique architectural integrity of their community. The bill has not yet been put to a vote.
Peter Brancazio, the president of the North East Flushing Civic Association, stood with Avella at Thursday’s press conference and criticized the city for allowing attachment-style home construction in Queens to the extent that it has been built.
“This is yet another example of the city neglecting the other boroughs, especially Queens,” Brancazio said. “They would never allow something like this to be built in Manhattan or Brooklyn.”
Frank Toner, the president of the Rocky Hill Civic Association, said that the construction of new row homes is at odds with the existing character of Northeast Queens neighborhoods.
“If you’re building a row house, it should be built with other row houses, going straight down the street,” Toner said. “These new homes are completely out of character.”
Bayside Hills Civic Association member Joe Lubomski echoed the sentiment.
“These new homes are like McMansions; they ruin the whole character of the neighborhood,” Lubomski said. “Something needs to be done to stop this.”
Reach reporter Sam Rappaport via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 123.