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Controversial Forest Hills development plans nixed due to community opposition

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The neighborhood’s “Restaurant Row” is here to stay

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They say persistence is key and in this instance, it’s true. In Forest Hills, Queens, a small neighborhood street filled with dining options, known as “Restaurant Row,” was well on its path to falling to residential development, however, strong community opposition has forced the developer to change his mind, reports DNAinfo.

Several restaurants at 107-18 70th Road, a small one-story complex, were to be demolished and replaced by a 12-story mixed-use building. But after public outcry from community members and small business owners, an attorney who represents the unnamed developer has declared that plans to move forward with the applications have been cancelled.

In a petition to halt the project, resident opposed the project for various reasons. It reads:

What are the implications to Forest Hills if this building goes through?

We lose all of our outdoor dining. 70th Road is the only place in Forest Hills where outside dining takes place as it is prohibited by law on Austin Street.

There will be a long-term impact on our community. Losing Restaurant Row will affect other local stores and businesses.

There will be unbearable congestion. With a Target Express going up where Barnes and Nobles once was, plus the traffic a new apartment/retail complex will generate, residents can expect a steady stream of slow moving cars with no place to park.

The aesthetic and historic quality of Forest Hills will be diminished.

According to DNAinfo, many of the restaurant owners spoke directly with the developer and reported that it was the strong opposition that swayed his decision to abandon the plan.

Residents were thrilled to learn of their victory. “It’s really good news to the community,” said Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz.

While several of the restuarants on Restaurant Row have closed in recent years and now remain vacant, among the remaining are Cabanas, Moca Asian Bistro, and a few others.