Developers built over-sized homes using floor area exemptions. On April 5, 2006, the City Council approved the 83-block rezoning designed by City Planning for Utopia Estates, Fresh Meadows and West Cunningham Park in Queens. As older homes were replaced by newly constructed mini-mansions, residents of the three Queens neighborhoods, Borough President Helen Marshall and Council Member James F. Gennaro raised concerns to the City that the zoning was not sufficiently restrictive.
The entire 83-block area was within one zoning district, an R2 district, which restricted construction to single-family, detached homes. The larger, out-of-character homes popping up in the area took advantage of exceptions written into the zoning resolution that allowed some attic and garage space to be exempt from a home’s floor area calculation.
City Planning proposed to rezone the entire area to R2A, a more restrictive zone in terms of height and lot coverage rules and floor area exemptions. In the new R2A district, the exemption of floor area for parking is limited to 300 sq.ft. and the district prohibits the exemption of attic space with ceiling heights over five feet.
The full Council approved City Planning’s proposal by a vote of 49- 0-2 with Council Members James Sanders, Jr. and Alan Gerson excused. The impacted area is generally bounded by 64th Avenue on the north, 196th Place on the east, Union Turnpike and Avon Road to the south and on the west by Utopia Parkway.
Lead Agency: CPC,Neg.Dec
Comm.Bd.: QN 8, App’d, 27-6-0
Boro. President: App’d
CPC: App’d, 12-0-0
Council: Union-Utopia Rezoning (April 5, 2006); CPC: Union-Utopia Rezoning (C 060235 ZMQ) (March 8, 2006). CITYADMIN