Council District 19


Democrats Wrestle for 19 Council Seat

Thursday, September 03, 2009

One of the most competitive City Council races is happening in Northeast Queens. Six Democrats are vying in this month’s primary – three of whom have significant money and big name endorsements. The 19th council district borders Nassau County and can seem a world apart from the more urban corners of the city. WNYC’s Beth Fertig has more.

The term “McMansion” typically applies to oversized homes that sprung up throughout suburbia in the housing boom. But it’s also a familiar phrase in Bayside, where City Council candidate Jerry Ianecce points to single family homes, most of which are modest in size.

IANNECE: Now you look at this small little house here which is appropriate for the location, look across the street from it. It’s covering virtually the entire lot.

REPORTER: It looks like a town house.

IANNECE: You would think it’s a multi-family but it’s a one family house.

Iannece explains how homeowners took advantage of loopholes in the zoning law to turn small lots into overgrown structures of four or five thousand square feet. He takes credit for helping the council pass a law limiting overdevelopment.

IANNECE: Basically I’ve been a council member without the pay.

As chairman of Community Board 11, Iannece claims he’s got the most experience of anyone running for the local council seat being vacated by mayoral candidate Tony Avella.