BY LYNN EDMONDS
Some Holliswood residents are profoundly upset about plans for a new development in their neighborhood that would put 31 condo units and 20 homes on the former Holliswood Hospital property.
Steve Cheung, a real estate developer with properties in Long Island City, Elmhurst, Flushing and Ridgewood – including the former Aloft hotel – bought the property in July for $10.9 million, is responsible for the plans.
Opponents of the development say that the multitude of dwellings would ruin the character and beauty of the neighborhoods, which is one of the most picturesque, spacious and leafy in all of Queens.
“The proposed condo is a MAJOR distortion of the character of HOLLISWOOD,” a newsletter from Linda
Valentino, President of the Holliswood Civic Association, said. “In my opinion, it constitutes a substantial deterioration of our bucolic Queens neighborhood. As presently contemplated, this cookie-cutter project will definitely bring noise, pollution and congestion to the area.”
Valentino added that the outdoor parking would make the area look like “a parking lot or a used car dealership.”
Each house on the neighborhood’s winding roads has its own architectural style, is set far back from the road, and surrounded by trees, shrubs, and other landscaping. There are no cars parked on the street.
In fact, there are very few cars at all. In the middle of a March day, only two cars drove by the Holliswood Hospital property in a fifteen minute time period, and one of the them was a van driving on to the property itself, where workers had begun to clean the interior of the old hospital.
The new development would increase the population density of the area, with smaller lots – still generous by most neighborhoods’ standards – and more tightly packed houses. And with current architectural blueprints for the new development showing parking spots for up to 131 cars, the planned development would almost undoubtedly increase traffic.
In an effort to stop these changes to the neighborhood, the civic released a petition against the proposal for the site of the former rehabilitation center for individuals dealing with substance abuse.
“If builders are allowed to come into neighborhoods where people work hard to maintain the beauty and value of their homes, I feel it is an assault on the American Dream,” the petition reads.
Holliswood is an R1-2 district. While constructing the freestanding houses would not require a zoning variance, the condos would.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana