134-block rezoning approved

Planning Department proposed application of inclusionary housing text to Queens neighborhoods. On May 24, 2006, the Planning Commission unanimously approved a rezoning impacting 134 blocks of the Maspeth and Woodside neighborhoods. The rezoned area is comprised mostly of one- and two-family homes as well as a few walk-up and elevator apartment buildings, and includes higher density development along Queens Boulevard. A steady increase in out-of-scale residential development triggered the City’s action.

Density would be decreased along primarily residential blocks and increased along portions of Queens Boulevard. On 63 blocks, the rezoning would limit development to one- or two-family homes with 24-35 foot height limits (R4-1, R4B). The plan would downzone other areas to permit mid-sized residential development, such as three-story row houses and small apartment houses (R5, R5B, R6).

Along Queens Boulevard from 50th to 73rd Streets, 23 blocks would be rezoned from an exclusively commercial zone to one permitting high density, 10- to 12- story apartment buildings (from C8-1 to R7X). Commercial district overlays along Queens Boulevard would be changed from C2-2 to C2-3, relaxing retail parking requirements.

At the Commission’s March 22, 2006 public hearing, the Pratt Center for Community Development and a representative for Council Member Eric Gioia raised concerns that the area’s infrastructure would not support increased development, and asked the Commission to consider applying the City’s inclusionary affordable housing text to Maspeth and Woodside. Community Board 5 spoke in favor of the rezoning, but objected to the high density district proposed along Queens Boulevard.

After the public hearing, the Planning Department initiated a text amendment to apply the City’s Inclusionary Housing Program to Maspeth and Woodside, its first application in Queens, and agreed to monitor the infrastructure needs of the two neighborhoods.

The Commission on May 24, 2006 unanimously approved. Chair Amanda M. Burden praised the plan for preserving neighborhood character while setting the stage for Queens’ first inclusionary housing plan. The Commission’s report noted that the plan was well balanced, allowing for new housing while maintaining neighborhood character.

ULURP Process
Lead Agency: CPC,Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: QN 2, App’d, 28-3-1; QN 5, App’d, 35-0-0
Boro. President: App’d
Council: pending

CPC: Maspeth/Woodside Rezoning (C 060294 ZMQ) (May 24, 2006). CITYADMIN

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