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QUEENS CIVIC CONGRESS, Inc.

Queens Civic Congress


P.O. Box 670706
Flushing, NY 11367
Ashook Ramsaran, Editor

NOVEMBER 2015 VOLUME 19 ISSUE 2

QUEENS CIVIC CONGRESS


Message from the President, Harbachan Singh

Election time reminds us of the intrinsic value and privilege of voting that we as American enjoy. It
demonstrates peoples power to replace government control whenever the elected representatives fail to
listen to their voices. It is important, therefore, for all citizens to register and cast their votes and it is
our inherent duty to encourage everyone to participate in the election process.

Thankfully, as an advocacy group, QCC is comprised of dedicated community activists in Queens who
work diligently, volunteering their time, efforts and resources through collective effort to sustain a high
standard of quality of life and help develop good, friendly and strong neighborhoods based on mutual
love and respect.
Towards this end, QCC thanks all its members for their collaborative effort and for being the eyes and
ears of the Organization. A vast majority of members participate in its meetings and events and
regularly pay their token annual dues of $35.00. We appeal to those members who have not been able to
join to do so early as we can exercise even greater power as a bigger team.
Recently, our attention has been drawn to the use of Eminent Domain principle which is believed to
being abused to a large scale by the authorities. QCC is seized of this concern and will attempt to
address it appropriately. Amongst a host of other topics, airplane noise has been a perennial
preoccupation of QCC as is such items as shelters for the homeless, Mayors zoning for quality and the
MIH plans and congestion pricing.
QCC is also looking at various bills at Federal, State and City level introduced by elected
representatives which may be stagnant on its way to passage for various reasons and plans to lend its
strong affirmative support to all those which are considered expedient and requires action on a priority
basis.
Like most of the membership stalwarts, we are volunteers too. Let us work together and please share
with us your expertise. We consistently call for accountability, transparency and conformity with the
law from government and municipal agencies and your support in our effort is appreciated.

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Queens Civic Congress, formed in 1997, is a registered New York State non-profit organization representing more than 100 civic and other
community organizations throughout the Borough of Queens in New York City, is committed to the protection and advancement of the
Quality of Life, to provide a forum for the civic associations and neighborhood organizations, to develop and present common policies
and positions, and to furnish effective leadership and advocacy for the advancement of the welfare and interests of Queens' neighborhoods
QUEENS CIVIC CONGRESS OFFICIALS
COMMITTEES & CHAIRS 2016

President Harbachan Singh


Secretary Sey Schwartz
Treasurer Jim Trent
Aviation & Noise Richard Hellenbrecht & Warren Schreiber
Coops & Condos Robert Freidrich & Warren Schreiber
Education (Vacant)
Membership Committee Kevin Forrestal & Jim Trent
Audit Committee Tyler Cassell
Health & Human Services Kevin Forrestal
Legislation Sey Schwartz
Communications Ashook Ramsaran
Parks & Cultural Affairs Barbara Larkin & Kim Ohanian
Public Safety Kim Ohanian
Transportation Jim Trent
Hospitality Rene Hill
Planning, Land Use, Zoning Tyler Cassell, Joseph Amorosco
& Code Enforcement Paul Graciano
Ad Hoc Committee:
Elaine Young, Linda Mitchell,
Bob Freidrich, Henry Euler
Congress Platform John McCaffrey
Community Board Reform Richard Hellenbrecht
Ad Hoc Committee:
Kevin Forrestal, Warren Schreiber, Kim Ohanian
Other Ad Hoc Committes may be established as required.
Members are requested to volunteer their services to the respective chairs & committees.

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Welcome to Ashook Ramsaran, newest QCC vice president, who will be assisting
with communications for QCC, including being editor of the Newsletter. Ramsaran
emigrated from Guyana in 1968 and resides with his family in Fresh Meadows. He
a board member of the Fresh Meadows Civic Association (formerly its Recording
Secretary) and Secretary of New York Presbyterian/Queens Hospital Community
Advisory Council. He is also currently president of Global Organization of People
of Indian Origin (GOPIO International).
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR
Next Queens Civic Congress Board Meeting is scheduled for:
Monday November 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm.
Venue: USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at the Indoor Training Center
(Classroom # 1). Open to all QCC members.
Queens Civic Congress (QCC) Legislative Reception on:
Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 1:00pm
Venue: Douglaston Club located at 600 West Drive, Douglaston, NY 11363
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BRIEFS, NEWS & UPDATES
Passing: It is with much sadness that QCC announces the November passing of Eugenia (Genie)
Rudman, a Queens Civic leader and friend who was a member of QCCs Planning, Land Use,
Zoning & Code Enforcement Ad Hoc Committee. Ms. Rudman was president of the Hollis Park
Gardens Civic Association for many years, and was very active in the major Jamaica rezoning
study a few years ago and worked hard on protective zoning for the Hollis Park Gardens area.
Passing: In September, we were saddened to learn of the passing of North Bellerose Civic
Association president Bruno DeFranceschi. A member Community Board 13Q and QCC, Bruno
was very active in leading his civic as well as working with local eastern Queens civics and is
deeply missed by all his friends.
The GREEN BOOK 2015-2016 (Official Directory of the City of New York) is out and available
at the New York City Store.
AIRPLANE NOISE: At a Town Hall meeting hosted by NY State Senator Jose Peralta on
Sunday, held at PS.69 in Jackson Heights Queens, over 380 persons attended and complained
about the aircraft noise at the LaGuardia airport. Federal Aviation Administration and Port
Authority of New York & New Jersey officials made presentations on the construction work
going on Runaway 22. As a result, on weekend mornings between 6 am and 9 am. Some 160
planes fly directly over Jackson Heights producing noise that could potentially affect children and
elderly especially more than others. Amongst other elected officials, U.S. Representative Joe
Crowley said that he would introduce an updated Silent Skies Act in Congress. U.S. Rep. Grace
Meng had also introduced legislation on Oct.2 that would require the Environmental Protection
Agency to control airplane noise.
Democratic Candidate Alicia Hyndman defeated Republican candidate Scherie Murray for
Assembly District 29 seat which was formerly occupied by William Scarborough.
Democrat Barry Grodenchik defeated Joe Concannon for Council District 23 seat which was
formerly occupied by Mark Weprin who had stepped down to work for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Former NYC City Councilman Tom Ognibene died recently and the funeral service was attended
by elected officials from both Democratic and Republican parties amongst the crowd.
NYC Police Officer Det. Randolph Holder was shot to death on Tuesday reportedly after a
gunfight between rival crews in East Harlem. A suspect Tyrone Howard, age 30, has been
apprehended.
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Copyright Queens Civic Congress, Inc (QCC). All rights reserved. Not for sale. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, utilized or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior permission of QCC. QCC makes no
representation or warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of any of the information contained
herein, including any opinion or other communication. While every effort has been made for accuracy, QCC shall not be
responsible for any inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors in this publication.
ZONING FOR QUALITY AND AFFORDABILITY - Kevin Forrestal
CEQR NO. 15DCP104Y : ZONING FOR QUALITY AND AFFORDABILITY TEXT
AMENDMENT is intended to be a comprehensive plan to build and preserve 200,000
affordable units over the coming decade for households, to support New Yorkers with a range
of incomes, from the very lowest to those in the middle class.

The Queens Civic Congress concurs with the objective to Promote Affordable Senior Housing
and Care Facilities. We have serious concerns, however, that the proposed amendments will
produce serious deleterious unintended consequences. The following is a brief summary of
some of our concerns.

This is a one shoe fits all plan. Each community has its own special character needs.
A more neighborhood focused EAS would be more appropriate. The size and scope of
the current proposal are of great concern.
The plan calls for reduction or elimination of off-street parking requirements for senior
housing and for those in transit zones. Most seniors drive and need parking. Lack
of street parking is a huge issue in Queens and in most of New York City.

Even after revisions by City Planning, there are serious problems concerning Building Height,
Setbacks and other Regulations. These problems will reverse many of the gains that have been
accomplished by our civics.

In an article by Gerard Flynn, April 1, 2015 in City Limits: Challenges to De Blasios


Promise of Inclusive Planning, Flynn lists 5 key points:
1. Comprehensive community planning takes a lot of time

2. Comprehensive community planning takes resources

3. Comprehensive community planning takes more than zoning.

4. Comprehensive community planning begins in the community

5. Community planning hasn't delivered in New York City in the past.

If change is necessary, it must be meaningful and in conjunction with community input.

The Mayor's 'Zoning for Quality and Affordability' plan has good points and its stated goals
are laudable. This plan, however, should be rejected since it does not meet its intended goals
and creates serious unintended consequences. The Queens Civic Congress has officialy
opposed these plans. Special thanks to Paul Graziano for his assistance and support to Queens
Civic Congress in articulating its position on the Mayor's 'Zoning for Quality and
Affordability' plan.

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NEW YORK AVIATION ROUNDTABLE NYCAR UPDATE
by Rich Hellenbrecht

NYCAR was formed in April 2015 modeled after dozens of roundtables at major airports
around the country. NYCAR focuses on noise and environmental issues related to operations at
Kennedy Airport and LaGuardia Airport affecting Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Nassau.
An interim Roundtable Coordinating Committee was elected at the April meeting, which
included QCCs Warren Schreiber as Co-Vice Chair and Rich Hellenbrecht as Secretary. In
addition, QCC Secretary Sey Schwartz is a member of the Roundtable representing Community
Board 8.

The Coordinating Committee has met through the spring and summer to draft by-laws, which
were introduced at a meeting on September 29. Following the intense discussion and mark-up
session with approximately 60 representatives, the Coordinating Committee sent a second draft
to the group for review prior to a meeting on November 17. We hope to adopt the bylaws then
and start election of officers.

While there are many roundtables throughout the country, none cover two major airports within
one county. Generally the bylaws will establish a Roundtable consisting of two Airport
Committees, one for each of our airports. Each committee will elect its officers and the
Roundtable will be administered by the two sets of officers as the Roundtable Coordinating
Committee. The Airport Committees will be deeply involved with the Port Authority, the
airlines and others in planning operations and projects to avoid or reduce any negative impacts
on communities in the four county area.
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SENATOR AVELLA REQUESTS SUPPORT OF LEGISLATIVE AGENDA


by Rich Hellenbrecht
NY State Senator Tony Avella attended QCCs regular meeting on October 20 at the Union
Plaza Nursing Home. The senator, a former QCC vice president, distributed copies of a letter
to the community itemizing sixty different bills on such topics as state legislature term limits,
ethics and FOIL reforms, DOB and BSA reforms. Other bills include such items as controls on
cellular antennas, illegal conversions laws, truck route violations, precinct subdivisions in 105th
and 109th, street tree inspections, and limiting property tax increases when assessment
decreases. These are just a few examples, but many of these bills could positively affect the
quality of life in our community.

Senator Avella is looking for the help of Queens civics in identifying one or many of his
proposed bills and writing letters of support he can forward to Assembly members to encourage
introduction in that body. We encourage our members to contact Senator Avellas office, get a
review copy and write a letter or two before the 2016 legislative session. Call 718-357-3094.

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Latest on the T-BUILDING": Meeting with the Developer Sey Schwartz
As chair of Community Board 8's committee dealing with the disposition of the aging T-
Building on the grounds of Queens Hospital, I met with the developer who plans to convert the
building into a 206-unit residential facility for affordable housing, with 75 units of integrated
supportive housing set aside for people with special needs.
In the meeting, the developer pointed out that the project to convert the building was being held
up by the issue of employing union labor, called for by Community Board 8 and a number of local
legislators. In response to the issue, the developer went back to the city's Housing and Preservation
Development agency, which is providing the funding for the project.
It is estimated that the cost of union labor would add from $21 million to $27 million to the
project. In response, the agency said it would not provide any additional funding above that already
planned for. He then pointed out to us as an aside that Affordable Housing in the City is not being built
with union labor.
To resolve the issue, the developer continues to hold meetings with both the Building and
Construction Trades Council and a number of its affiliated locals, where a formula for agreement
continues to take shape, and is hopefully close to resolution. The key to moving forward then, in
meeting demands for the use of union labor in the T-Building development, as well as other Affordable
Housing Projects, now rests upon the involved locals and the contractors.
At the hoped for conclusion of such an agreement, the developer will reach out to our local City
Council member for concurrence, to be followed by a return to the Housing and Preservation
Development agency, where he will submit newly revised cost estimates based on these agreements.
Mr. Dunn made clear there is no role to be played in this process by neither the Community Board, nor
the Borough President.
I then drew his attention to our strong desire for our Community Board's proposal to include the
planning for an 8,000 sq. ft. rent-free facility dedicated to our Board's use as a community center. The
developer responded that should there be agreement on the union labor issue, a rent-free space for
community use may be possible, and he would include it in his revised proposal. We now hopefully
await a positive resolution.
The discussion next turned to the planned 75 units for people with special needs set aside for
Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). In response to my questions, the developer assured us that
there will be a thorough screening of the prospects for residency, pointing out once again that it is also
in the best interest of Dunn Development to be assured of the effectiveness of the process. It is
estimated that 50,000 people will apply for housing, and all those selected will be by lottery. The
proposed occupants will first be screened by HHC, followed by the service provider (for the 75 clients
with special needs), and the developer will do the final background screening. He made clear that
these residents will be scattered throughout the building, and not be clustered.
He further stated that the city's Old Intro. 24A calls for a 50% preference in such developments
for current Community Board residents. However, the city prefers a 30% mandate, and there is
currently a law- suit challenging the larger percentage. The law also requires that 5% of the units be
set aside for City employees, and 2% for those with visual or mobile impairment. In response to
another issue raised by Community Board 8, he responded that a preference for veterans "can be
worked out".
We are cautiously encouraged to believe the developer will continue to be helpful in securing
the rent-free community facility. Clearly, if we are to succeed, our board will then have to find the
considerable funding necessary for operational expenses, and to consider the creation of programs to
serve the needs of community residents of all ages. There can be few loftier objectives for our board.
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NYC. Council Transportation Committee Hearing on Oct. 22, 2015, Commuter
Van Intros. Testimony by QCC President Harbachan Singh
Commuter vans are one of several vehicle licensees that the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is
responsible for regulating. The Department of Transportation (DOT) issues van and base
authorizations and then enforcement is charged to TLC. The Committee on Transportation heard three
pieces of legislation pertaining to the vans:
Int 570 (Williams) - Eliminating the prearrangement and passenger manifest requirements for commuter vans, repealing the
requirement that commuter vans renew their license every 6 years, and repealing subdivision k of section 19-504.2. (The proposed
legislation would repeal the current Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) requirement that commuter vans operate on a
prearrangement basis and maintain a passenger manifest. It also eliminates the need for license renewals ever 6 years.)

QCCs Stand: While the elimination of prearranged transportation and the passenger manifest is understandable,
the repeal of renewal requirements for commuter vans has raised a flag. We believe that the vans should be
required to continue to prove the need for their service, as originally mandated in the Citys Administrative code
that requires a determination on the present or future public convenience and necessity for commuter van
authorizations. Therefore, the Queens Civic Congress supports this bill except that it does not support one
element therein i.e., repealing the requirement that commuter vans renew their license every six years.

Int 860 (Miller) - Requiring a study of safety related issues in the commuter van industry and suspending new commuter van
licenses pending the completion of such study. (Under the bill, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) would conduct a study of
safety related issues in the commuter van industry to be submitted to the Council and posted online by March 1, 2016. The study
would include, at a minimum: information on safety related violations; data on vans, bases, and drivers; information on illegal
commuter vans; a plan for preventing vans from operating on bus routes; the number of vans seized; information on the most
utilized routes and ridership; a plan to reduce illegal commuter vans; information on license renewals for vans, bases, and drivers;
and a discussion on the selection of routes. The TLC would not issue any new commuter van licenses from the effective date to the
date of the Legislation.

QCCs Stand: - The Queens Civic Congress supports this bill which calls for a comprehensive study.

Int 861 (Miller) - Increasing certain penalties applicable to operators of commuter vans. (Currently, the civil penalty for violating
any law or rule related to commuter vans is $1,000 for a first offense and $2,500 for second and subsequent offenses within two
years. The civil penalty for illegally operating a commuter van is $500 to $1,000 for a first offense and $1,000 to $2,500 for second
and subsequent offenses within two years. The bill would increase the civil penalty amounts for any violations related to commuter
vans and for illegally operating a commuter van to $3,000 for a first offense and $4,000 for second and subsequent offenses within
two years.)

QCCs Stand: The Queens Civic Congress supports this bill.


We see that Into.860 & Intro 861 will serve to raise operational and safety standards within the
commuter van industry, and also ensure that the city is able to properly regulate commuter vans. This
is essential as the proliferation of illegal and unsafe vans has been a scourge to many communities
across the city, including those throughout the Borough of Queens. The proliferation of illegal and
illegally functioning vans presents a serious problem. In violation of City law van operators often
solicit, pick up or discharge passengers outside of their designated areas, in bus stops and along bus
routes, and violate the most basic rules of the road. The vans honk at riders utilizing public
transportation, intimidating them and creating unsafe and congested roadways.
Licensing procedures must be enhanced, not dissolved, and greater enforcement of current regulations
are needed as New Yorkers continue to be negatively impacted by the substandard and illegal service
provided in the commuter van industry. For this reason Introductions 860 and 861 are greatly needed,
as is greater enforcement from the TLC and their counterparts at the Police Department. It was also
subsequently pointed out that we must not prejudice the efficient bus service that already exists on
designated routes. Our thanks to all the sponsors of these bills.
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Annual Membership Dues Queens Civic Congress
$35 P.O. Box 670706
As the city and state cut back on services in Flushing, NY 11367
your neighborhood and raise taxes and fees,
your civic organizations need QCC more
than ever to speak out for Queens fair share
of public services and to keep a lid on taxes.
Mail your dues to:
Queens Civic Congress
Attn: Jim Trent, Treasurer
242-33 90 Avenue
Bellerose, NY 11426

Civic: _____________________________________

Address: ___________________________________

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Email: _____________________________________

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Queens Civic Congress Membership 2015


Addisleigh Park Civic Organization Forest Hills-Van Court Assoc North Bellerose Civic Assoc.
Arverne Civic Assoc. Fresh Meadows Homeowners Assoc North East Flushing Civic Association North
Auburndale Improvement Association, Inc. Friends of Fort Totten Parks Flushing Civic Association
Bayside Clear Springs Council Georgetown Mews North Hills Estates Civic Assoc.
Bayside Hills Civic Assoc. Glen Oaks Village Owners, Inc. Northwest Bayside Civic Assn.
Bayswater Civic Association Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Assn., Inc. OaklandGardens/Terrace Community Council
Bay Terrace Community Alliance, Inc. Harding Heights Civic Assoc. Off Broadway Homeowners Association
Bay Terrace Cooperative Section #1 Hillcrest Estates Civic Association Old Forest Hills, Association of
Bayside Historical Society Hilltop Village Co-Op #1 Our Neighborhood Improvement Assn.
Belle Harbor Property Owners Assn. Hilltop Village Co-Op #3 Parkway Village Historical Society
Bellerose Commonwealth Civic Assoc. Hilltop Village Co-Op #4 Queens Colony Civic Assoc.
Bellerose-Hillside Civic Assoc. Hollis 11423 Block Association Queens Community
Bowne Park Civic Assoc. Hollis Hills Civic Assn. Civic Corporation
Briarwood Community Assoc. Holliswood Civic Assn. Queens Preservation Council
Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Hollis Park Gardens Civic Assoc Queens Village Civic Assoc.
Cambria Heights Civic Association Holly Civic Assoc. Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Assoc.
Central Queens Historical Association Hyde Park Owners Corp. Ramblersville-Hawtree Civic Assoc.
Clearview Gardens Cooperative Jackson Heights Beautification Group Richmond Hill Historical Society
Coalition for Queens Jamaica Estates Assoc. Ridgewood Property Owners
C.O.M.E.T. Jamaica Hill Community Assoc. Rockaway Civic Association
Creedmoor Civic Assoc. Juniper Park Civic Assoc. Rocky Hill Civic Assoc.
Deerfield Area Civic Association Kew Gardens Civic Assoc. Rosedale Civic Assoc.
Doug-Bay Manor Civic Assoc. Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association Royal Ranch Civic Assn, Inc.
Douglas Manor Association Kew Gardens Improvement Association South Ozone Park Civic Association West
Douglaston Civic Assoc. Kissena Park Civic Association Station Road Civic Association of
Dutch Kills Civic Assn Of Long Island Little Neck Bay Association Auburndale
East Elmhurst/Corona Civic Association ittle Neck Pines United Veterans Mutual Housing
Federated Block Associations of Laurelton Lost Community Civic Assoc. Waldheim Neighborhood Assoc.
Federation of Civic Assns. of Southeast Queens, Malba Meadowlark Gardens Owners, Inc. Wayanda Civic Association
Flushing Heights Civic Assoc. Middle Village Property Owners West Cunningham Park Civic Assoc.
Flushing on the Hill Civic Assn. Mitchell Linden Civic Assoc. Westmoreland Assoc.
Forest Hills Crescents Assoc. Neponsit Property Owners Association, Inc. Woodside Community Council
Newtown Civic Assoc.