Longstanding Lucille Roberts gym lobbies for Queens zoning change

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The owners of a popular Bayside, Queens Lucille Roberts fitness center, who have been operating for nearly two decades in Their Bell Boulevard location despite a zoning regulation that forbids them from doing so, are heading to a meeting of Community Board 11 tonight to lobby for a rezoning proposal that would permit the gym to exist as-of-right. According to the Daily News, the area was down-zoned in the mid-1990s to C1-2, a designation that allows small retail and service businesses on the commercial stretch and doesn’t allow special permitting for a fitness center to dodge the rules. The Lucille Roberts owners are seeking a C2-2 designation for the entire stretch, but although the gym is popular with local residents, Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece noted that “the idea of upzoning the area makes some people uneasy.” He suggested that a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals would be preferable to a major rezoning. The proposal was recently voted down by the board’s East Flushing-North Bayside Zoning Committee, but should it be nixed tonight as well, it can still move on to the City Planning Commission and the City Council, as the vote acts as a recommendation. [NYDN]