NYPost link

September 19, 2005 -- Construction is booming all across the city, and judging by where new building permits are being issued, New York's hottest neighborhoods are a long way from Manhattan's bright lights. Staten Island, south of the Staten Island Expressway, and the Jamaica and Rockaway sections of Queens are seeing more new construction than any other parts of the city, a Post analysis of city Buildings Department data shows.

Other booming neighborhoods are Flushing and College Point in Queens and the East New York section of Brooklyn.

The 4,352 new building permits issued citywide from January through August appears to be a bit ahead of 2004, when permits for 6,425 new buildings were issued during the entire year.

This year, Queens is leading the way in the number of new permits, followed by Brooklyn and Staten Island.

City government is driving much of the building in Brooklyn and Queens. Development in the Rockaways is being spurred by a years-long urban renewal program, and more than 40 percent of new building permits in East New York are sought by the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

But in Staten Island, private development is the rule.

The borough's growth is no surprise to local real-estate agent Tom Maira, who says Staten Island for years has led the city in new housing construction.

"Our industry has been booming here since the 1970s," Maira said.

The borough's biggest new housing project is a 72-unit town-house development going up on the former site of a bowling alley and recreation complex off Mill Road in the New Dorp section.

Another booming area is Tottenville, a once-sleepy neighborhood on the island's far southern end.

Some complain the growth is changing the area's character.

"It's getting out of hand," said Tommy Pierce, 71, a retired Staten Island Ferry deckhand who has lived on Lee Avenue for 51 years.

In July, the City Council tightened Tottenville's zoning rules with a mind to making sure one- and two-family houses continue to dominate in the area. Such "downzoning" is a common city response to Staten Islanders' growth complaints, Maira said.

Some locals are pleased with the growth — including lifelong Tottenville resident Mike Campbell, 55, who is opening a new restaurant in the neighborhood.

"People complain," Campbell said. "But then they sell the houses they bought for $70,000 for $700,000, and they don't complain so much."


Typical "character of neighborhood" and other downzoning arguments are invoked in the article. They also don't mention as to what kind of development is booming. Housing, commercial?