2006-11-17 / Columnists

On The Beach

Politics, Parties And Zoning, Oh My!
Commentary By Beverly Baxter

BEVERLY BAXTER In its commitment to gathering a consensus regarding the zoning issue and whether to up or downzone areas of Rockaway Park, the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association recently hosted its third charette meeting at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club.

Members of the association were given the podium to express their views as they pertain to the issue.

The consensus of those who reside or own property west of Beach 116 Street is to either keep the zoning as is without any addendums to their zone, or increase the restrictions attached to their zone; thus down-zoning. However, unlike the previous two meetings where there were more homeowners and residents from the west end, there was more representation at this meeting from the business-seat area of Rockaway Park.

It seems that those who reside in the west end would like to keep things the same or increase restrictions, while those with property in the business-seat would like to lessen the restrictions of the R5 zone; thereby, up-zoning.

A lively debate ensued. A common sentiment of those with property in the R5 zone is that a relaxing of the restrictions (or an increase in the zone) would make their properties more desirable, and yes, more valuable, to builders and developers; and that an increase would rid our area of the unsightly SRO's that are having an increasingly negative impact on the business district.

Their argument is that they should not have a say in changes to the zoning as it pertains to the west end; therefore, they feel that those in other zones should not have a say in what happens in theirs.

As a board member, I feel that a logical resolution would be for the association to host several more meetings with each particular zone in order to work out a plan that is representative of each zone. We have an extraordinary opportunity to write our own fate and this opportunity should not be squandered to the status quo to decide.

The issue will again be addressed at future meetings to be held after the holidays.

The RPHRA will host its annual Holiday Party on Saturday December 9 at The Knights of Columbus Hall.

This year, the association is delighted to honor the following individuals and organizations who continue to enhance our lives. They are Dr. M. Chapey and Renee Freeman, Co-Presidium of the distinguished Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council.

They will be honored for their continuous fostering of the inter-faith dialogue here on the peninsula. Dr. Chapey recently received a well-deserved honor by the Ancient Order of Hibernians as their Woman of the Year at a fte at The Reception House.

Our next honoree is John Lepore, whom many regard as the savior of Tribute Park for his commitment to getting the park out from a quagmire of bureaucracy and onto a fast track toward completion.

He will be honored as our association's Man of the Year.

This year's Business Recognition Award will go to Danielle McShane of Danielle's Florist on Beach 129 Street. In just a few short years, McShane has decorated our world with beautiful floral arrangements and has been very generous with her time and talent.

Our Community Commitment Award will go to the Rockaway Irish Boys (a.k.a: The RIBs). Need I say more!

Following in the footsteps of their big-daddy Graybeards, The RIBS have hosted charity events, such as golf-outings, to help in their community service toward those in need.

For tickets, please contact Dinner Dance Chair Lady, Mary Lenihan. I hope to see you there!

***The Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee is moving right along toward Rockaway's most festive day! Our thirtieth anniversary parade will present the following individuals as our slate of honorees: Our Grand Marshal will be Kevin Kelly, Business Agent for Local 46, Metallic Lathers Association.

The Honorary Grand Marshals will be Edward Ford, President Local 30 of the Operators and Engineers.

He will be joined by Margaret Keaveney, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. Our Deputy Grand Marshals are: Senator Malcolm Smith, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Richard Knott, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus; Joe McGorty, of the Department of Sanitation; Ellen Peppard, Esq; Matthew Gorton, Queens Representative for the Bloomberg Administration; Martin Feeney, of the Broad Channel Athletic Club; Warren Scullin, of the Ancient Order of Hibernians; and Kelly Feeney, of the Queens County Savings Bank.

Congratulations to all the distinguished honorees. The parade committee will host its first benefit of the 2007 parade season this Sunday November 19 at The Beach Club from 6-10 p.m.

Tickets are $50 and may be obtained from President Michael Benn or from any parade committee member.

The annual Hearts and Shamrocks dance will be held on January 21 at St. Camillus and the Antun's Gala will be held on February 17. Please join us as we celebrate the honorees!

***If you attended the Peninsula Hospital Center's annual Gala at The Sands, then you were treated to perhaps one of the most mellifluous renditions of our National Anthem that I've ever heard performed by Dr. Jeannie Franks. Bravo!!

The evening's theme was You've Gotta Have Heart, and proceeds from the benefit will go toward the expansion of the Department of .

Another highlight of the evening was casino-style gambling for charity; and of course, an elaborate silent auction. Congratulations to the honorees, particularly Trustee Steven Greenberg and PHC Community Advisory Council President, Dan Mundy, on your well-deserved honors. It was an affair to remember!

***O.K., so Stu Mirsky lost in his bid to unseat the incumbent in the State Assembly race; and while he didn't win or even place, Stu and the Rockaway Republicans did manage to show that they can offer an alternative in the polling booth, where there hadn't been one in years, and mount a serious campaign.

Congratulations to Tom Lynch, George Greco and the many other Rockaway Republicans who assisted in the Herculean effort.

***Very Special Happy Birthday wishes this week to: John Lenihan, Kevin Breslin, Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey and Jeffry Gitter!

***See you...On the Beach!

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