2004-11-19 / Community

Sanders Seeks To ‘Downzone’ Bayswater, Far Rockaway

By Howard Schwach

City Councilman James Sanders may soon address the complaints of many local residents that large, single-family homes are being demolished in the eastern end of the peninsula to make way for multiple dwelling units, according to a recent report.

“We have to stop these shameful and unscrupulous developers who have love neither for their community or their nation,” Sanders told The Wave this week. “We have to stop them from razing our heritage and ravishing our neighborhoods.”

Sanders pointed particularly to the Bayswater and Seagirt Beach sections of Rockaway, where developers have recently taken down single-family homes and replaced them with several smaller homes or town houses.

Most of the development is “of right” because of the present zoning regulations in those neighborhoods.

“They are destroying our stately old homes simply to make lots of money by building more homes,” said a Bayswater Civic Association spokesperson. “They are destroying the entire character of the neighborhood.

While the City Planning Commission has put a halt to the new development in a number of north and central Queens community, as well as in Springfield Gardens, nothing as yet been done for Rockaway communities facing the same problem.

Sanders seeks to change that.

“We downsized a number of areas and now we have to do Rockaway,” Sanders said. “I would love to do all of my district, but I know that’s not rational. We have to do large chunks of Rockaway first, however.”

Sanders said that he met with Amanda Burden, the chairperson for the City Planning Commission.

“The City Council offered to put some money in the commission’s budget to get this rezoning done,” Sanders said, “but she initially turned it down because the Mayor did not want new budget items.”

He says, however that they finally got Burden to take the money and to study the rezoning.

“We should see some movement soon on rezoning portions of Far Rockaway and Bayswater to stop this terrible development,” Sanders said. “Our communities are on the way up and we should help them along all we can.”

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