District 19
Upper Queens

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District 19 - Tony Avella
38-50 Bell Blvd. (Suite C), Queens 11361
City Hall: (212) 788-7250
District: (718) 747-2137
Fax: (718) 747-3105

Committee Assignments:
Zoning & Franchises, Chair of Land Use Subcommittee
Fire & Criminal Justice Services, member
Housing & Buildings, member
Land Use, member
Rules/ Privileges & Elections, member

Building A Better Queens

By Tony Avella

Shortly after I was elected to the New York City Council, many of the outgoing Council members wished me "congratulations and condolences." The congratulations, they said, were for getting elected; the condolences were for getting elected at a time when there is a fiscal crisis.

Obviously, the city is facing serious financial problems. We have a $4.8 billion deficit that we must address. We should do our best to make sure the fiscal pain is evenly spread. But the issues that were important before September 11th, are still important.

I appreciate Mayor Michael Bloomberg's willingness to work with the City Council on these difficult issues. We need to work together and put party politics behind us. I support some of the mayor's budget proposals and I oppose others. For example, I strongly believe we should reinstate the commuter tax, which would significantly help eliminate the budget gap.

In my district in Queens, I will continue to focus on many important projects.

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani allocated $5 million for the first phase construction of the College Point Sports Park, which will include a little league field, a baseball field, a roller hockey rink, and a park house. I intend to meet with the mayor's office, the Department of Design and Construction, and the parks department to make sure that this project continues as planned and that funding is secured for the additional phases.

I also would like to create a new police precinct in Northeast Queens. The 109th and the 111th precincts currently serve my City Council district. Adding another precinct would improve police visibility and response time.

Northeast Queens has numerous incidents of street and basement flooding. Although this is a middle-class district, many neighborhoods do not have storm sewers. The installation of storm sewers and catch basins are a major priority to eliminate street flooding.

Throughout the borough of Queens the topic of zoning has become a key issue. I am grateful to have been appointed Chair of the Council's Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee. This appointment puts me in a unique position to try to address many of the current zoning problems that affect our quality of life. As Subcommittee Chair, I hope to initiate a few of my own ideas that will improve the zoning process and allow for more community input.

First, I would like to create an appeals process for the Board of Standards and Appeals, the body that hears and decides on issues from property owners whose building applications have been denied by various city agencies. Currently, once the Board of Standards and Appeals makes a decision, the only way to appeal is to initiate legal action. For example, the board might exempt a property owner from having to conform to front and side yard requirements when constructing a building. Many community boards, civic groups and residents have been disappointed with the lack of community input and the inability to appeal board decisions.

Another issue is how "community facilities," such as churches and medical offices, are zoned in residential areas. Currently community facilities are required to have enough parking spaces to accommodate their visitors. However, some circumvent the parking requirements in the zoning code by using moveable seating instead of fixed seating. Churches that use folding chairs, for example, do not have to provide parking, while those that have pews do. In cases where this has occurred, the neighborhood's parking is severely diminished and traffic congestion is increased. This is the kind of abuse of the zoning code that needs to be changed.

For twenty years, I have been a civic activist in my community. City government is often complicated and confusing for residents to navigate. I hope to make it easy for people to address their concerns. During any campaign people often said, "The only time we see politicians are when they are running for office." This will not be the case in my district. I will be going door to door throughout the 19th council district to introduce myself and ask my constituents how I can help.

Posted March 18, 2002

Community Boards for District 19
Community Board No. 7
45-35 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 359-2800
Mr. Eugene T. Kelty, Jr., Chair
Ms. Marilyn Bitterman, District Manager
Community Board No. 11
213-02A 42nd Ave., Bayside, NY 11361
(718) 658-3308
Mr. Bernard Haber, Chair
Ms. Anne Marie Boranian, District Manager

Community Plans for District 19 (PDF format)
197-a plan (Queens Community Board 11)

Historic Preservation Plan, Open Space and Recreation Plan - Final Reuse Plan for Fort Totten (Office of the Queens Borough President or Mayor's Office)

Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration

Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration

Public Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports

Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.

City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).

Community Gardens

Click for larger image
Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City

Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.

The Waterfront

map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)