Queens residential development plan approved

Commission and Council Member Avella pleased with developer’s decision to reduce proposed number of units from 114 to 52. On October 29, 2008, the City Planning Commission approved 151-45 Sixth Road Whitestone Partners LLC’s plan to develop 52 single-family homes in the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens, just south of the East River between the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges.

Whitestone Partners originally sought to develop the 12.8 acre parcel with 114 detached, semidetached, and attached residential units and provide 132,500sq.ft. of open space. In response to the Commission and community’s concerns, Whitestone Partners reduced the number of units from 114 to 52, and modified its plan so that all units would be single-family and detached. The developer also proposed 503,000sq.ft. of open space, including 130,345sq.ft. of publicly accessible common open space guaranteed through a restrictive declaration.

Despite a reduction in the project’s parameters, the development still required a zoning map amendment to change the area from M1-1 to R3-2, a City Map amendment to eliminate a portion of 152nd Street, and a special permit to waive a distances between buildings requirement. The special permit was necessary because 38 of the 52 units would not meet the 45ft. window-to-window distance requirement.

Paul Selver of Kramer Levin, speaking on behalf of Whitestone Partners at the Planning Commission’s September 24th public meeting, stated that the waivers would allow for construction of all 52 units on one zoning lot with common open space. This design would allow Whitestone Partners to place homes further away from the flood hazard zone and provide publicly accessible open space along the waterfront.

Council Member Tony Avella complimented the developer for reaching out to the community. He remarked that the revisions were significant improvements upon the original plan, and supported the new development because it would eliminate “obnoxious manufacturing uses” that create truck traffic in residential sections of Whitestone.

The Commission approved the plan without modification. The Commission found that the M1-1 district was no longer appropriate given the surrounding low-density residential neighborhoods. It also found the waivers appropriate since the proposed design maximized the amount of open space at the site, and allowed for “three acres of well-designed, publicly accessible waterfront open space.” The City Map amendment was approved as well, with the Commission noting that the portions in question were irregularly configured, unimproved, or used as vehicle storage by the developer.

ULURP Process
Lead Agency: CPC,Con.Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: QN 7,App’d, 32-0-1
Boro.Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 12-0-0
Council: App’d, 49-0-3

CPC: Waterpointe (C 080203 ZMQ – rezoning); (C 080204 MMQ – City Map amend.); (C 080207(A) ZSQ – spec. perm.); (N 080210 ZCQ – cert.) (Oct. 29, 2008). CITYADMIN

CITYLAND Comment: On Dec. 9, 2008, the City Council approved the project.

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