Large Rezoning in Queens Awaits City Council Review

Contextual rezoning would impact 229 blocks south of Forest Park in Woodhaven and Richmond Hill. On May 23, 2012, the City Planning Commission approved the Department of City Planning’s Woodhaven – Richmond Hill Rezoning proposal. The contextual rezoning would impact 229 blocks along Jamaica and Atlantic Avenues south of Forest Park in Queens. The portion of Woodhaven impacted by the plan is generally bounded by Park Lane South to the north, Jamaica and 91st Avenues to the south, 98th Street to the east, and Eldert Lane to the west. The portion of Richmond Hill impacted by the plan is generally bounded by Atlantic and Jamaica Avenues to the north, 103rd Avenue to the south, 121st Street and the Van Wyck Expressway to the east, and 112th and 102nd Streets to the west.

The Woodhaven and Richmond Hill neighborhoods are characterized by low-density development and are known for their one- and two-family wood-frame houses, and tree-lined streets. The blocks north of Atlantic Avenue, found largely within Woodhaven, are primarily zoned R3-1. The majority of the blocks within Richmond Hill south of Atlantic Avenue are zoned R5. The zoning, which has remained unchanged since 1961, permits a range of building types and has led to the demolition and replacement of wood-frame homes with out-of-character semi-detached, attached, and multi-family buildings. Meanwhile, new development has not occurred along the mixed-use commercial corridors of Jamaica and Atlantic Avenues.

The proposal would largely replace Woodhaven’s R3-1 zoning with R3X and R3A zoning districts. Under the new zoning, new development would be restricted to one- and two-family detached houses. Richmond Hill’s R5 zoning would be replaced with R4A, R4B, and R4-1 zoning districts, reducing permissible FAR and the maximum building heights of new construction. The plan would also rezone 65 blocks of Jamaica and Atlantic Avenues from R3-1 and R5, respectively, to R6A. This would encourage appropriate mixed-use development along the area’s primary commercial corridor by increasing maximum building heights and commercial and residential FAR. In addition, the proposal would alter commercial overlays along Jamaica and Atlantic Avenues to better match existing uses, and reduce the depths of the overlays to prevent commercial encroachment along residential side streets.

Queens Community Board 9 unanimously supported the rezoning. Borough President Helen M. Marshall also supported the rezoning, but submitted her recommendation after the 30-day review period had expired.  There were no speakers at the City Planning Commission’s April 25 public hearing. The Commission unanimously approved the rezoning, finding that the comprehensive zoning strategy would reinforce the area’s residential character and “provide a framework for orderly growth.”

CPC: Woodhaven – Richmond Hill Rezoning (C 120195 ZMQ – rezoning) (May 23, 2012).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.