Developer’s appeal to maintain zoning fails to sway Council. On March 24, 2009, the City Council approved the Department of City Planning’s rezoning proposal for 100 blocks in North Corona, Queens. Although most of the affected blocks were included in a 2003 rezoning, local residents called on City Planning to propose another rezoning given recent out-of-character development.
When Planning presented its proposal at the City Planning Commission’s January 21st public hearing, several affected property owners and their representatives spoke in opposition, including the owner of McGrath Funeral Home on 37th Avenue, and Adam Rothkrug, who represented the owner of 104-02 Northern Boulevard, a property located near the intersection of Northern Boulevard and 104th Street. 6 CityLand 24 (March 15, 2009). The Commission, in its report, modified Planning’s proposal by carving out a portion of 37th Avenue between 90th and 92nd Streets. McGrath Funeral Home would keep its R6B designation, allowing it to expand. The Commission, however, declined to modify the proposal as it related to the south side of Northern Boulevard between 104th and 112th Streets. As such, 104-02 Northern Boulevard’s zoning district would change from R6 to R6A, reducing the maximum FAR from 4.8 to 3.0.
At Council’s March 18th public hearing before its Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee, Rothkrug asked the Subcommittee to consider keeping the R6 district. He explained that the Planning Commission, in approving the 2003 rezoning, stated that the rezoning along Northern Boulevard from R5 to R6 was devised to create new opportunities for residential, mixed-use, and community facility development. Rothkrug further explained that his client had purchased the property based on this information, and was later “shocked” when he discovered a second rezoning of the area was planned, especially since the area had not been rezoned since 1961 and was now being rezoned twice within a few years. Given the “unfair procedural history” and “dramatic impact” on owners who purchased properties after the 2003 rezoning, Rothkrug advocated keeping the south side of Northern Boulevard between 104th and 112th Streets as an R6 district.
The Subcommittee decided not to change the boundaries of the proposed R6A district, found all aspects of the modified plan to be appropriate, and unanimously voted to approve the application. The Land Use Committee and the full Council did so as well.
Council: North Corona 2 Rezoning (March 24, 2009).