Tony Avella's News items

Times Ledger: Avella, Park Advocates Appeal Willets Megamall Case

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and park advocates say they are hopeful after a panel of judges heard arguments last week in the case of a proposed megamall on the former site of Shea Stadium.

The appeal filed by Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), City Club of New York, Queens Civic Congress, several members of Willets Point United and nearby residents and business owners against the Willets West mega-mall proposal was argued before the state Appellate Division.

The Willets West mall project is part of the Queens Development Group’s $3 billion redevelopment of Willets Point into a new neighborhood with commercial, retail and residential space.

April 24, 2015

Times Ledger: Avella, Homeowners Group Want Landmarking for Broadway-Flushing

Residents of the Broadway-Flushing neighborhood want the Landmarks Preservation Commission to recognize the neighborhood as a historic district.

The association has been fighting for the designation for the last 11 to 12 years, according to Robert Hanophy, the association’s president.

The designation would prevent the city Department of Buildings from letting developers take on projects in the neighborhood that violate the area’s restrictive covenants, which are deed restrictions put in place in 1906 that prevent the construction of walls or fences within 20 feet of the property lines and streets, prohibit flat roofs and mandate minimum lot sizes and construction costs for homes.

April 24, 2015

Queens Chronicle: Poppenhusen Gets $100,000 Grant

Call it coincidence, but the $100,000 grant state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) was able to give the Poppenhusen Institute for expenses is the same amount it cost to build the historic site 147 years ago.

Avella announced the grant at the College Point building Monday. The funding, which is the largest single expense grant the institute has ever received, will help Poppenhusen cover operational costs.

The money was obtained by the senator as part of more than $1.3 million he successfully allocated for programs and organizations throughout his district and across Queens.

April 24, 2015

Times Ledger: Briarwood Gets Subway Stop Named Solely for Neighborhood

After decades of confusion, Queens residents can now rejoice in the clarification of the Briarwood subway station. State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) , Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) and Seymour Schwartz announced the renaming of the Briarwood-Van Wyck subway station to simply Briarwood after a 14-year battle.

Avella and Weprin both introduced legislation that required the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to remove “Van Wyck Boulevard” from all signage at the stop. The bill was passed but later vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. MTA was then directed to make the changes.

Avella recognized what a victory this was for Briarwood residents.

April 24, 2015

NBC New York: NY Senator Proposes New Law to Clarify Sex Offender Residency Rules

New York State Sen. Tony Avella has introduced new legislation demanding more uniform sex offender residency laws after NBC 4 New York's I-Team discovered a discrepancy in how far from a school offenders can live.

Last week, the I-Team exposed a legal loophole that allowed level 2 and 3 sex offenders on parole or probation to live at the Bellevue Men's Shelter over the last several years, despite a state law saying they must live at least 1,000 feet from any school.

The private Churchill School and Center is just around the corner from the shelter, and depending on how someone measures the distance from the men’s city shelter on 30th Street, that distance can be above or under the mandatory 1,000-foot rule.

April 23, 2015

Legislative Gazette: Senator Avella worried about lobbyists in consultants' clothing

According to the new chair of the state Senate's Ethics Committee, Tony Avella, and a recent news report, public relations firms are playing two positions in the field of government influence.

The Queens Democrat says the dual-role these firms are fulfilling is an ethical issue that needs to be addressed.

A member of the breakaway Democrats in the Senate, Avella, is drafting legislation that would hold public relations firms to the same disclosure standards as lobbyists.

Avella released a statement April 2 expressing concern about the possibility that some PR firms may have extra pull over elected officials.

April 14, 2015

Capital NY: Avella proposes lobbying ban for political consultants

ALBANY—In light of a report that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has met with a political consultant and campaign strategist who also represents organizations that lobby City Hall, State Senator Tony Avella has introduced a bill that would bar lobbyists from also being political consultants.

“If you're a lobbyist, you can't be a campaign consultant because there's an inherent conflict of interest when you have people who are running elected officials' campaigns and then representing clients who are lobbying that same legislator,” Avella, a Queens Democrat, told Capital.

April 10, 2015

CBS New York: Proposed Bill Would Ban Import, Sale of Five Endangered African Species in NY

Legislation has been introduced in New York that would ban the import, possession, sale or transportation of the remains of five endangered species native to Africa.

State Sen. Tony Avella was joined Wednesday by animal rights advocates on the steps of City Hall to announce the bill, which covers elephants, leopards, lions, black rhinoceroses and white rhinoceroses.

All five species are currently facing extinction and are further threatened by illegal poaching and sport hunting, advocates said.

“We’re supposed to be the stewards of these species and shame on us if we allow them to become extinct because of sport hunting,” Sen. Avella told 1010 WINS.

April 10, 2015

New York Observer: Senator Says He Will Push Bill to Require More Disclosure From Political Consultants

State Senator Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, said today he will push legislation that would require disclosure for all political consulting firms that have “substantial contact” with both elected officials and other clients.

April 3, 2015

TimesLedger: City seeks to modernize rules to bolster affordable housing

Community leaders are up in arms about the city’s plans to update existing zoning regulations to accommodate its affordable housing goals, which they say will undo more than a decade of progress in zoning.

In May, the city released the Housing New York plan, which identified the need for 200,000 affordable housing units over the next decade.

Among the issues identified in the plan is the need to upgrade outdated zoning regulations that impede the production of affordable housing, according to the city Department of City Planning.

“Certain units may be too large at the moment,” said city planner Stephen Everett.

March 31, 2015

NY1: Queens State Senator Proposes Bill Heightening Charges for Resisting Arrest

A State Senator from Queens wants those who repeatedly resist arrest to face harsher punishment. 

Resisting arrest is, right now, just a misdemeanor.

State Senator Tony Avella has introduced a bill that would allow people who've been charged with resisting arrest twice before to face felony charges the third time, however. 

The felony would be known as "aggravated resisting arrest." 

The previous two charges would have to have happened within the last decade. 

Whether a person is actually charged with the new proposed felony charge would be up to the prosecutor. Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz is introducing the bill in the other chamber.


March 23, 2015

New York Post: State senator proposes harsher penalties for resisting arrest

Resisting arrest will lead to harsher penalties under legislation proposed by a Queens Democrat.

State Sen. Tony Avella is behind a bill that would create a felony charge — “aggravated resisting arrest” — for people who have been convicted of resisting arrest twice in a 10-year period.

The legislation is in response to protests last December following a Staten Island grand jury decision not to charge a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

The bill is based off a letter the Lieutenants Benevolent Association sent to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton in January requesting an “aggravated resisting” charge.

“This helps everybody,” LBA President Louis Turco told The Post. “Civilians don’t get hurt and officers don’t get hurt.”

March 23, 2015

CBS New York: State Lawmaker Calls For Signage Instructing People Who See Someone On Subway Tracks

A state lawmaker on Monday launched a plan to get the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to put up new subway signage, in an effort to help save lives.

Commuters know the subways can be dangerous – riders can fall or get pushed onto the tracks for waiting a train.

March 17, 2015

Times Ledger: Senator Avella heads up NYC social services task force

State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (D-Nassau) announced last week the new Task Force on the Delivery of Social Services in New York City.

March 16, 2015

Times Ledger: Senator Avella calls on DEC for probe into Lumber Liquidators

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) called on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation last week to launch an investigation into levels of formaldehyde found in some Chinese-made laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators.

March 13, 2015

Avella hopes to stop plans of overdevelopment on massive Whitestone vacant sites

Winter may be coming to an end, but state Sen. Tony Avella isn’t planning a warm welcome for anyone who purchases a controversial site in Whitestone if they plan on overdeveloping the property or building something that doesn’t comply with zoning.

The large property, which comprises six acres of vacant land near the intersection of 150th Street and Fifth Avenue, will be up for sale on April 10 in an auction. The site was part of the former Cresthaven Country Club and then was owned by real estate firm Whitestone Jewels LLC, but has been in foreclosure since 2007.

March 11, 2015

Times Ledger: Flushing Common developers take steps to reduce traffic

Traffic agents, along with a temporary pedestrian walkway, will now surround the Flushing Commons construction site in downtown to Flushing to address pedestrian safety and congestion issues.

January 8, 2015

Times Ledger - Avella calls for better benefits for non-uniform 9/11 respondents

Glen Oaks resident Arthur Syken was one of the thousands of first responders to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The New York State Division of Housing employee did not hesitate when the agency needed volunteers “to go downtown.” The very next day, he was working at Battery Park City, not far from the epicenter of the attacks. He was there until mid-winter helping displaced people find a place to stay and giving out information from other city and state agencies.

“I saw a lot of sad things,” he said “Unfortunately, I got sick.”

He is suffering from thyroid cancer and has lost 40 percent of his lung capacity.

December 8, 2014

Queens Chronicle - College Pt. street cleared

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) reports improved conditions on a College Point street that was littered with industrial parts and construction material.

Since bringing it to the public’s attentiion last month, the area around 124th Street and 28th Avenue has been cleared.

December 8, 2014

Times Ledger - Avella calls on state to reject tax incentives for Willets Point developers

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has called on the state Department of Conservation to reject an application by the developers of Willets Point for millions of dollars in tax credits.

December 8, 2014
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