The City of New York

Queens Community Board 3

 

 

 

BOARD MEETING

 

 

Thursday, January 15, 2004                                      at:       The Salvation Army Center

                                                                                                86-07 35th Avenue

                                                                                                Jackson Heights, N.Y.  11372

 

PRESENT                                                                              ABSENT

 

Patrick Beckles                                                                        John Peter Azzali

Mizanoor Biswas                                                                      Emma Brandt

Richard Cecere                                                                        Howard Dent

Shiv Dass                                                                                 Vivian Dock

Vasantrai Gandhi                                                                      Margaret Dozier

Darryl D. Hoss                                                                         Zeathea Gordon

Stephen Kulhanek                                                                    Judy Grubin

Thomas Lowenhaupt                                                                Michael Hartman

Martrin Maier                                                                           Joyce Hucless-Julian

Lisa Mesulam                                                                           Norma Jimenez

Ralph Moreno                                                                          Capers Johnson

Leoncio Romero                                                                       Ned Kassman

David Rosero                                                                           Lorraine Kresse

Arturo Ignacio-Sanchez                                                            Grace Lawrence

Arthur Teiler                                                                             Ana Lopez

Augusto Tiongson                                                                     Ludy Lugo-Herrera

Edwin Westley                                                                         Beryl Major

Hamlett Wallace                                                                       Eleanor McNamee

Sara Yearwood                                                                        Gary Miller

Giovanna Reid, D.M.                                                                Luciano Muniz

Irene Voss, Recorder                                                               Theresa Obradovich

Thomas Raffaele, Esq.

                                                                                                Joseph W. Ricevuto

                                                                                                William H. Salgado

                                                                                                Stuart Sears

                                                                                                Jimmy Smith

Patricia Thomas

Harold Thompson

Orlando Tobon

Beninnida Yagual

 

GUESTS

Steven Jacobs, N.Y. C. Economic Dev. Corp.

Warren Kroeppel, P.A. Gen. Mgr. LaGuardia Airport

Ralph Tragale, P.A. Mgr. of Community Relations

Patty Clark, Senior Advisor to Aviation Director

Steve Romaleski, N.Y.P.I.R.G.

Rolondo Enfente, Census Bureau

Dan Segal, Queens Dept. of City Planning                                

Yonel Letellier, Rep., Assemblyman Jose Peralta

Alfonso Quiroz, Rep., Councilwoman Helen Sears

 


Richard Cecere, Chairman, opened the meeting at 7:45 p.m.  He advised that because of the inclement weather, Deputy Borough President Karen Koslowitz had to cancel her appearance as guest speaker this evening.

 

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

 

U.S. Census Bureau 2004

 

Rolando Enfente advised that the 2004 Census Test is coming to Northwest Queens to test new ways to count the population in the next national census.  He urged the community’s participation in helping the U.S. Census Bureau plan for a more accurate and cost-effective 2010 Census.  The 2004 Test questionnaire should arrive at your home in mid-March – fill it out and send it back in the postage-paid envelope.  Mr. Enfente noted that if you are visited by a census taker, please cooperate by answering their questions.  Every Census Bureau worker takes an oath to protect your answers; information is never released that identifies you or your household.  That is the law!   He distributed brochures for further information and how to earn extra cash and learn new skills by applying for a Census job. 

 

PUBLIC HEARING

 

ULURP CO40191 PPQAn application to extend Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s lease to operate LaGuardia and J.F.K. Airports until 2050. 

 

The Chairman introduced Steven Jacobs, New York City Economic Development Corporation, Vice President of Transportation. 

 

Mr. Jacobs advised that due to capital projects that the P.A. has planned for the airports, the city agreed to extend the P.A. lease through 2050.  The current lease was set to expire in 2015.  Mr. Jacobs stated that as part of the negotiated lease, the P.A. would make an up-front payment of $700 million to the city and $50 million to fund capital improvement projects in Queens.  He stated that “the buck stops with the Mayor” in the distribution of those funds. Annual rent for the two airports will increase from $3.5 million to $93.5 million or 8 percent of gross airport revenues, whichever is greater.  He further stated that the P.A. will also make these increased payments for the years 2002 and 2003.  In addition, the new lease gives the city increased oversight and auditing power regarding airport issues through the creation of an airport board, which will be composed of local elected officials and P.A. officials.  Mr. Jacobs informed Board Members that a new airport board will be formed and that P.A. will give up some of its autonomy to the airport board. Further, the new airport board will also serve as a forum for local residents to express their desires regarding capital spending. 

 

Warren Kroeppel, P.A. General Manager for LaGuardia Airport, stated that P.A. wants to “mend fences” with the local communities.  “There will be a forum for dialogue”, Mr. Kroeppel stated. 

 

Ralph Tragale, P.A. manager of government and community relations, stated that “there has been a big transition in the last five years”.   Because the new airport board will include local elected officials, for the first time, communities will have a place to go to air complaints.  

 

Comments and concerns from Board Members were expressed as follows:

 

-                     The P.A. would be assuming much more power.

-                     A mechanism should be established that will enable communities to have a say in how rental proceeds are spent.    

-                     Airport landing lights property should continue to be administered by the New York City Parks Department rather than the P.A., thereby giving local communities more of a semblance of control over the disposition of that land.

 

Richard Cecere thanked the presenters from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for their informative presentation.  The Chairman introduced Dr. Arturo Sanchez.

 

PUBLIC INFORMATION

 

Changing Demographics --An Analysis of Census 1990 and 2000

Dr. Arturo Sanchez

 

Dr. Arturo Sanchez, C.B. #3 Board Member and urban planning professor at Pratt Institute gave a slide presentation on Census information about where ethnic groups in Queens reside.  Steve Romaleski from the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), who collaborated with Dr. Sanchez on the study, gave insight into how demographics in various communities are changing in different ways, i.e. transportation and economic development.  Previously collected Census information asked people to identify themselves by ethnicity.  The study began when C.B. #3 sought to analyze how the local community would be impacted should New York host the 2012 Olympics.

 

Dr. Sanchez stated that between 1990 and 2000 the total population of  C.B. #3 has increased by a staggering 31% and it has the highest percentage of growth compared to any other community. He and his colleague examined where residents live based on their nationality and economic factors, such as household income and sector of employment. He further stated that the highest concentration of immigrants in this district are Hispanics and Asians who tend to cluster racially, ethnically and economically.  Dr. Sanchez gave the Roosevelt Avenue corridor as an example of this. He, however, stated that ethnic labels are “too homogenous a category”.  Within these categories are groups that have very big differences.  Most analysts use terms like Hispanics, but we break it down into Mexican, Dominicans, Colombians and other nationalities. 

 

One major finding revealed by the study was that within each nationality there appeared to be “a two-tier economy”.  Higher wage earners moved to separate locales from their lower income counterparts from a similar country, Dr. Sanchez said.  When presented with, for example, economic policies “we’ll be able to measure who the winner and losers are”.  Community Boards never had this type of data before – this is a quantum leap for them.   He stated that this newly analyzed information changes the geometry of information and leverage that community boards can now have. Dr. Sanchez further stated that it is important to begin to address these issues so that we can be knowledgeable and sophisticated advocates.  

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

The Chairman opened Executive Session with the Pledge of Allegiance.  He advised that elections will be postponed until next month because we do not have a quorum. 

 

Adoption of the January 15, 2004 Agenda

 

This evening’s agenda was adopted by Ralph Moreno, seconded by Leoncio Romero and unanimously carried.  

 

Chairman’s Report

 

Richard Cecere congratulated Ralph Moreno on his appointment as Congressman Joseph Crowley’s representative for the Neighborhood Advisory Board #3 in Queens. 

 

The Chairperson further reported that the Beta Site project is progressing nicely. Eventually there will be equipment available to use in each Community Board. He will keep Board Members apprised of any new developments. 

 

Motions by Committees

 

Airport 

 

Mizanoor Biswas, Airport Committee Chair, reported that a joint meeting was held on January 12, 2004.  The committee recommends approval for the renewal of the lease agreement to allow the Port Authority to operate LaGuardia and J.F.K. Airports until 2050 with conditions.

 

Discussion ensued as follows:

 

Vasantrai Gandhi stated that because the cost of living in New York is high and will continue to rise, the gross 8% rental increase is too low. The lease should be amended to coincide with inflation.  

 

Arturo Sanchez stated that C.B. 3 is skeptic about the input communities will have on airport issues affecting their communities. 

 

Edwin Westley stated that because of past negative relationships between the P.A. and communities adjacent to the airports, the property should continue to be maintained by Parks.     

 

Mr. Beckles further noted that the P.A. keeps changing the boundaries – boundary lines must be put in writing before a deal is signed- off, he stated.  He requested that P.A. holdings at LaGuardia Airport be reviewed.   

 

Richard Cecere advised the Board that it did not have a quorum but that a non-conforming vote will be taken.  The Board is required to submit its recommendation by January 20, 2004.   

 

ULURP  040191 PPQ – An application to extend Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s lease to operate LaGuardia and J.F.K. Airports until 2050.

 

With a non-conforming vote of 12 in favor, and 1 abstention, the Board recommends approval for the renewal of the lease agreement to allow the Port Authority to operate LaGuardia and J.F.K. Airports until 2050 with the following conditions:

 

-                     Airport Board – The City’s appointees to the Airport Board should include:  (a)  The Borough President;  (b)  Boards directly affected by the airports and elected officials.

-                     50 Million Dollars – The funds that will be allocated by the Port Authority be directed to Capital Projects for the (7) seven Community Boards that are directly impacted by the airports.  In addition, all projects will be subject to the review and approval of the Queens Borough Board annually.

-                     Terms of the Lease Agreement – The lease agreement must be reviewed for an increase, a minimum of every five years to address inflation and other expenses that may occur over the next 50 years.  

-                     Landing Lights Property – There are eight (8) sites known as the landing lights property located with C.B. Board #3.  Currently the Department of Parks is responsible for maintenance.  The Port Authority is asked to provide funds to Parks Department to cover the expenses for maintaining said property and upgrade these  sites by planting trees and installing benches for public use.  

-                     Audit Report of Environmental Conditions – Port Authority provide an audit report on water, air and land conditions in the communities that are directly impacted by the airports – an annual environmental quality review.   

-                     Black Cars – Request Port Authority has greater involvement in getting the black cars off of residential streets and into airport parking.

-                     Master Plan – Port Authority provide the master plan for the development of LaGuardia Airport.

-                     Noise – Port Authority continues to work towards reducing noise pollution.  

 

Committee Reports

 

Land Use – CEQR 4DCP025Y – Community Facilities Text Amendment

 

Augusto Tiongson, Committee Chairman, advised that committee met on January 12, 2004 to discuss the NYC DCP and the NYC Council proposal to make changes on zoning regulations on proposed community facilities. Mr. Tiongson noted that the zoning regulations have been in effect since 1961; they are outdated and changes need to be made. A public hearing will be scheduled in the near future.  At that time, the Board will have an opportunity to comment on the proposal and make its recommendations. The Land Use Committee recommends submitting the following comments:

 

-                     The proposed community facility be contextual in design to conform to the scale of the neighborhood. 

-                     The community facility’s function and purpose be compatible to the needs of the neighborhood.

-                     The community facility provide on-site parking and/or off-site parking so as not to add to the chronic traffic congestion in the neighborhood. 

-                     The proposed community facility has minimal impact on current open spaces, including residential yards. 

 

Traffic/Transportation –  An application for a street festival for October 16, 2004 on 37th Avenue between 79th to 81st Streets from  9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

 

Stephen Kulhanek, Committee Chair, advised that the Queens Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the festival.  It will primarily be a food festival; the intention is to promote local community restaurants and businesses.  He further advised that it is the Committee’s recommendation that the event take place between 76th to 79th Streets and 37th Avenue, instead of the proposed location. 

 

The following comments/concerns were raised regarding the event: 

-                     Jackson Heights doesn’t need to promote restaurants from other communities; 

-                     C.B. 3 does not go to other districts to promote their businesses;

-                     C.B. 3 restaurants might not be at the promotional forefront of the festival.

 

The Board concurred to support the application for a street closing if there is a strong representation of C.B. 3’s district restaurants.  The Board further concurred that it be held on 76th, 77th, 78th and 79th Streets and 37th Avenue.

 

Landmarks – 37-27 78th Street – An application to legalize the installation of a storm door and porch gate without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit. 

 

Martin Maier, Committee Chair, advised that the storm door and porch gate were installed for security reasons; however, it conforms to neighboring houses on the block. 

 

The Committee concurred that a letter be written to L.P.C. indicating that the applicant work with L.P.C. to bring the property into compliance.  Further, the committee recommends that in the future, the necessary permits be obtained from LPC before performing work to the exterior of the house, grounds and sidewalk.  

 

Legislators Report

 

Alfonso Quiroz, Council Member Helen Sears’ liaison, thanked C.B. 3’s efforts for the quick clean-up of snow from the streets after the recent snowfall.  He briefly reported on recent happenings:

 

-                     The Mayor submitted his City budget proposals this week -- the Councilmember  will be very busy studying them; 

-                     C.M. Sears also attended the recent State and City Address.

 

Richard Cecere thanked everyone for coming out on this frigid night and closed the meeting at 10:00 p.m. 

 

                                                                                                Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                                               

Irene Voss, Recorder