Council modifies controversial Queens plan

Level of restriction debated by Council. Douglaston/Little Neck Rezoning Adopted Zoning Districts Map used with permission of the New York City Department of City Planning. All rights reserved.

Change by Planning Commission rejected in part after lengthy Council hearing. The City Council voted to approve the rezoning plan for a 135- block area of the Douglaston and Little Neck communities of Queens and rejected a portion of the modifications made by the Planning Commission.

City Planning initially proposed a complex rezoning and text amendment for the area that down-zoned blocks found to have a zoning that permitted out-of-scale buildings. It also reduced the depth that commercial uses could intrude on residential districts and allowed a new grandfathering system for residents who commenced alteration work on their homes prior to the rezoning. Overall, the proposal restricted over 65 percent of the down-zoned area to single-family home construction.

After a public hearing, the Planning Commission slightly modified the proposal, carving out areas east of Marathon Parkway and west of Little Neck Parkway to retain less restrictive zoning. When the proposal reached the City Council, residents and community groups split over which proposal to support.

that developers lay behind the push to modify the first plan, citing the fact that developers papered the community with fliers claiming the new zoning would prevent residents from modifying their homes. Others added that the community and Planning painstakingly worked out the original proposal and it had “logic” to it. Residents in favor of the modified proposal spoke about concerns for their homes’ resale value.

Council Member Tony Avella explained that the grandfathering provision, which he proposed, reacted to a problem that arose after the Bayside down-zoning. To be grandfathered, Avella explained, developers “only had to pour foundations” on large out-of-character apartments while residents’ alterations needed to be completely constructed. Avella said that the down-zoning “inadvertently caught homeowners in the middle.” The new process allows residents to continue alteration work if the Department of Buildings finds the structural framing complete. This eliminates the need for BSA approval.

Avella closed the meeting without a vote. When the subcommittee reconvened on December 18th, the council members voted to restore a portion of the original proposal, adopting a new R2A zoning along five blocks east of Marathon Parkway. The modified proposal moved to the full Council, which unanimously approved.

ULURP Process:
Lead Agency: CPC,Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: QN 11, App’d, 29-12-2
Boro. Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 13-0-0

Council: Douglaston Little Neck Rezoning (Dec. 20, 2006). CITYADMIN

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