Modification established 80-foot building height limit along portion of Queens Boulevard. On June 23, 2011, the City Council’s Land Use Committee modified the Department of City Planning’s rezoning proposal for the Sunnyside and Woodside sections of Queens. The plan would impact 130 blocks in western Queens south of the Sunnyside Rail Yard and east of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
Sunnyside, bisected by Queens Boulevard in the western portion of the rezoning area, is predominantly characterized by large residential and commercial buildings. Woodside, in contrast, is characterized by one- and two-family detached and semi-detached homes and low-rise apartment buildings. The populations of both neighborhoods have increased during the past two decades, and subsequent out-of-scale development has disrupted street wall continuity and led to inappropriate commercial uses on residential side streets.
Planning’s proposal would replace the study area’s 50-year old zoning with contextual zoning districts to establish building heights, reinforce existing development patterns, and provide residential development opportunities along appropriate corridors. Accompanying zoning text amendments would alter sidewalk cafe regulations along Queens Boulevard and Skillman Avenue and apply the City’s Inclusionary Housing Program along a portion of Queens Boulevard in Woodside.
Queens Community Board 2 and Borough President Helen M. Marshall supported the rezoning, and no one opposed the proposal at the City Planning Commission’s public hearing. 8 CityLand 75 (June 15, 2011). The Commission unanimously approved the rezoning plan.
At the Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee hearing on June 21, local Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer announced that the proposal had been modified. Van Bramer stated that the eastern portion of Queens Boulevard would be rezoned R7A rather than R7X, and the western portion of Queens Boulevard would be rezoned C4-4A rather than C4-5X. These modifications would reduce the proposed maximum building height along Queens Boulevard from 125 feet to 80 feet. The Subcommittee unanimously approved the modified proposal, and the Land Use Committee followed suit. On June 29, 2011, the full Council forwarded the modified proposal back to the City Planning Commission for review.
Council: Sunnyside-Woodside Rezoning (June 23, 2011).