April 13, 2011 By Christian Murray
Community Board 2, which represents residents in the Sunnyside/Woodside and LIC neighborhoods, voted last week in favor of the 130-block rezoning plan in Sunnyside and Woodside.
The vote represents a significant milestone toward the implementation of the rezoning plan – since it now only needs to be signed off by the Queens Borough President, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. These steps are expected to be a formality, with the new plan expected to go into effect within the next six months.
The proposal would bring the biggest change to Queens Blvd, where a significant “up-zoning” would take place—largely to accommodate new residential units. The proposed changes are expected to produce 249 housing units by 2019, including 74 affordable apartments.
In the past year, many members of the public have expressed concern that the influx of residents would overwhelm the already crowded classrooms. Furthermore, they have voiced their concern that the police, fire and emergency services would struggle to handle more residents.
Under the plan, developers would be able to construct buildings on Queens Blvd. between 39th and 44th Streets up to 3.75 times the size of the lot, or up to 5 times the site area if affordable housing is built. Currently, between 39th and 41st, developers can only build a structure 1.25 times the site area. Meanwhile, between 41st and 44th streets, the existing formula is 3.44 times the site area.
The new plan does place a maximum height limit of 125 feet along Queens Blvd.; that limit which would equate to about 8 to 10 stories.
The new plan would allow builders to develop structures further up on Queens Blvd between 44th and 50th streets up to 5 times the site area. Currently, developers are able to build 3.4 times the zoning lot size, which increases to 4.8 times in the unlikely event a community center is built.
The plan would allow small, sidewalk cafes along Queens Blvd between 39th and 48th Streets.
The plan aims to put height limits on residential streets to ensure their uniformity. This is particularly the case on blocks where there are one-, two- and three-family attached and semi-detached homes. The plan would establish height limits of 33 to 44 feet on these streets, and ensure that development is consistent with existing homes.
Along blocks with taller apartment buildings, the plan would limit buildings to a height of 70 to 80 feet to ensure that future developments match existing buildings.
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