Oct. 19, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
Citywide zoning changes that could affect local building heights, housing density and more will be presented and discussed at a public meeting sponsored by Community Board 2 and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer next week.
The Department of City Planning will join the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to present two proposed amendments to New York City’s Zoning Resolution, which are designed to promote affordable housing and higher quality buildings city-wide.
The public meeting will take place at IS/HS 404, 1-50 51st Ave., on Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
According to CB 2 Chair Pat O’Brien, the meeting will be run as a presentation with opportunities for questions and comments from the public.
One of the proposed zoning changes that will be discussed, called Zoning for Quality and Affordability, would allow developers to build five feet higher than currently permitted in the blocks surrounding Queens Boulevard, starting at 39th Street and moving east.
As described in DCP documents, this increase is intended to give builders more flexibility within existing zoning rules, to encourage new housing construction with more engaging architecture.
ZQA would also incentivize new affordable housing units, by allowing developers who participate in the city’s Inclusionary Housing program to build 20 feet higher along Queens Boulevard, from 39th Street moving east.
Read the Sunnyside Post’s earlier coverage of these and other proposed changes here.
Van Bramer noted that, in contrast to a local zoning change, which is all but determined by his Council vote, his will be one of many votes on a city-wide initiative such as this.
“So even if I voted against it, it would not necessarily stop it from happening,” he said. “But what folks in my district voice on this particular subject matters to me, and I want to hear what people’s thoughts are.”
The building height increases along Queens Boulevard are a particular concern to the Councilman and he has raised this with the Mayor, he said.
O’Brien said he expects the meeting to shed light on these zoning changes’ potential effects on the neighborhood, which may not be obvious simply from reading the zoning documents.
“Affordable housing is a beautiful thing. It’s a good concept. However it has different impacts in different communities, and we just want to make sure everybody knows what those might be,” he said.
Of the 20-foot height increases, O’Brien added, “that’s a big bump, so that I think is a concern.”
CB 2 and Van Bramer scheduled next week’s meeting in addition to DCP’s upcoming visit to the Board, as part of the a public review process that kicked off on Sept. 21.
Community Boards were given 60 days from that point to respond on the proposed zoning amendments.
“We have a clock ticking to be able to offer [CB 2’s] comment in a meaningful way,” O’Brien said. “The only way you can do that is to give people as much info as possible, and get back as much input from people as possible.”
CB2’s next full board meeting will take place on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, O’Brien said.
Reach reporter Jackie Strawbridge at [email protected]