BY JOE MARVILLI
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) held a rally earlier this month in support of a calendared landmark designation being completed.
On March 15, Avella stood in the driveway of 38-60 Douglaston Parkway with nearly two dozen homeowners associations and Douglaston citizens, protesting against the new owner of the historic house from making any adjustments because the block it sits on is calendared to be in the surrounding landmark district.
“We were able to get it calendared in 2008 and we’ve been waiting for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to move ahead since then,” Avella said. “We’re here today to call upon the LPC to move ahead expeditiously to actually designate the extension and to do whatever we can to stop this new owner from ruining the character of this house.”
According to the New York City Buildings Information System, a work permit was issued on March 4 for “vertical and horizontal enlargements.” While it did not offer more details on what the enlargement would be, the page did mention that the construction would not remove a story, add more than three stories, add more than 25 percent of the area of the building or perform work in more than 50 percent of the building. The lot area is 7790 square feet and the gross floor area of the building is estimated at 1,448 square feet, according to maps.nyc.gov/doitt/nycitymap.
“Understand that this whole area was supposed to be in the original designation of Douglaston Manor in 1997. It was left out to ‘be looked at, at a later time,’” Paul Graziano, a City Council candidate for District 19, said, pointing out that the houses across the street are in the landmarked district.
The extension that should have been landmarked is made of about 20 houses. The only one that has been altered so far was a structure a few houses down from 38-60 Douglaston Parkway that was engulfed in a fire last August.
The LPC said that it would not be pursuing a landmark status for the house in question in light of the challenges of researching the provenance the building, which was moved from its original site in the early 1950s, and because partial permits have already been issued.
“We remain interested in moving ahead with the proposed extension to the Douglaston Historic District, and will continue to work with the owners, elected officials and the wider community to achieve this end.” Elisabeth de Bourbon, communications director at LPC, said.
Avella was pleased with the Commission’s response.
“The fact that the LPC is willing to move ahead on that is a very good sign,” he said. “The community is moving to acquire more of the property owners in support of the application.”
The senator also mentioned that he and Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) would be sending a joint letter to the LPC in support of the landmarking expansion.
Many homeowners associations showed at the rally in support of moving forward with the landmarking.
“We’re here to lend out any support we can in this endeavor to keep a beautiful and unique neighborhood like this one from being destroyed,” Mel Seigel, President of Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association, said.
“It says a lot about our history and if you erase the history of an area, then you take away its soul,” Paul Di Benedetto, President of Bayside Historical Society, added.
Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, or at email@example.com