Kew Gardens Hills Residents Seek Area-wide Rezoning to Allow Home Expansions

Building envelope comparison: R2 (left) to R2X (right). Image Credit: CPC.

The proposed rezoning would allow larger single-family homes than current zoning permits and would bring many overbuilt homes in the area into zoning compliance. On June 19, 2019, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on a proposed rezoning of two areas of Kew Gardens Hills in Queens. The application was brought by Queens Community Board 8 to rezone approximately 378 lots across 16 blocks from the existing residential R2 zoning to residential R2X zoning. The areas proposed for rezoning are both located northeast of the Kew Gardens Interchange generally bounded by 72nd Avenue to the north, Union Turnpike to the south, Park Drive East to the west, and Main Street to the east.  Queens Community Board 8 brought the application on behalf of Kew Gardens Hills residents. The applicant’s attorney Jay Goldstein presented the application.

The two areas proposed for rezoning are currently zoned for residential R2 zoning. R2 allows single-family detached homes with a maximum of .5 floor area ratio (FAR). Building heights in R2 are governed by the sky exposure plane. R2 also requires that at the rear of the property, homes must be set back a minimum of 30 feet from the street. The proposed R2X zoning would increase the maximum allowable FAR from .5 to 1.02 with attic allowance, would impose maximum building heights at 35 feet, and would lower the rear yard setback requirement from 30 feet to 20 feet.

Aerial view of the rezoning areas (outlined in yellow) in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. Image Credit: CPC.

According to Goldstein, 98 percent of the homes that would be affected by the rezoning would benefit, as many of the homes are either underbuilt or overbuilt. The rezoning would bring the overbuilt homes into compliance with zoning and would provide flexibility for the homeowners who wish to expand their homes.

Goldstein, who grew up in the neighborhood and knows many of the area residents, shared that the proposed rezoning was the culmination of years of effort by area residents. Residents held a series of meetings open to the public to come up with the project before turning to Queens Community Board 8 to help bring it to fruition.


At the City Planning Commission hearing, one resident testified in support of the application.

[UPDATE]: On July 31, 2019, City Planning voted to approve the application. The City Council will be holding a public hearing on the project on September 4, 2019.


By: Viktoriya Gray (Viktoriya is the CityLaw Fellow and New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2018).



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