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April 21, 2009

Rachaele Raynoff / Jennifer Torres (City Planning) (212) 720-3471


April 21, 2009 – This week City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden began public review for an approximately 300-block rezoning proposal in the western Queens neighborhoods of Middle Village, Glendale and Maspeth, Community District 5.  The proposal was developed at the request of and with extensive input from elected officials, including Council Members Elizabeth Crowley and Melinda Katz, Community Board 5 and local civic associations.  This contextual rezoning would extend the Bloomberg Administration’s commitment to curb overdevelopment in the city’s primarily lower density communities and complement rezonings already adopted in the Middle Village, Glendale and Maspeth communities. 

“Since 2002, the Bloomberg Administration has rezoned 4,000 blocks in Queens to create a sustainable blueprint for the future, protecting neighborhood character and channeling development away from auto-dependent neighborhoods,” said City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden.  “This week we begin public review to bring zoning stability to 300 blocks in the western Queens neighborhoods of Middle Village, Glendale and Maspeth, three of Queens most attractive neighborhoods.  One of the largest rezonings to date in Queens, the proposal has benefited greatly from the advocacy and knowledge of community members and from the leadership of Council Members Crowley and Katz.” 

“I am pleased that the Department of City Planning is moving forward with the rezoning proposal of Middle Village, Maspeth and Glendale,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.  “The proposed rezoning will limit overdevelopment and protect the character of our community.  I will continue to work with the Department of City Planning to ensure the rezoning plan is implemented as soon as possible.”

“I commend the Department of City Planning for their tireless efforts on behalf of my community,” said Council Member Melinda Katz, “This rezoning will go a long way to protect this area from teardowns and overdevelopment.”

The proposed rezoning area is bounded by the Queens-Midtown Expressway, Woodhaven Boulevard, Forest Park, Mount Carmel Cemetery, Cypress Hills Cemetery, Fresh Pond Road and 59th Street and adjoins three City Planning rezonings completed in 2006. The area primarily contains one- and two-family residences, with three- and four-story mixed-use buildings defining the Woodhaven Boulevard, Grand Avenue, and Myrtle Avenue corridors.  Much of the zoning within the rezoning area (R3-2, R4, R5, M1-1 and M1-4D) has remained unchanged since 1961 and allows a range of land uses and housing types that can be inconsistent with the prevailing lower density residential character. 

The 300-block contextual rezoning would:

  • Protect and reinforce the neighborhood’s one- and two-family residences by designating lower density contextual zoning districts (R3A, R4-1, R4A, R4B and R5B) to ensure that new developments match the existing scale and density of surrounding houses.
  • Eliminate Infill zoning provisions. Infill zoning has lower parking requirements and allows for developments at a higher density than would otherwise be applicable.
  • Provide modest housing opportunities along portions of Woodhaven Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue consistent with the three- and four-story mixed-use buildings that define these corridors.  The proposal would designate R5D zoning along a section of Myrtle Avenue in western Glendale and blocks along the west side of Woodhaven Boulevard between 63rd Avenue and 64th Road. New developments would have a maximum building height of 40 feet.
  • Update commercial overlays in order to reflect current land uses and support retail continuity along neighborhood shopping streets of Cooper, Myrtle, Flushing, Grand and Metropolitan avenues and Woodhaven Boulevard. Commercial overlay zones would be eliminated or reduced to prevent commercial intrusion on residential blocks.  

The 300-block Middle Village-Glendale-Maspeth rezoning builds upon recently adopted lower-density and contextual rezonings in portions of these neighborhoods, including the 160-block Middle Village-Glendale rezoning (March 2006), the 135-block Maspeth-Woodside rezoning (June 2006), and the Middle Village Follow-up rezoning (August 2006), as well as the rezoning of a portion of Middle Village in 1994.  The Department of City Planning implemented these rezonings in response to requests from Community Board 5, area residents, local elected officials and civic groups who expressed concerns that the development occurring in these neighborhoods was out-of-character with established development patterns and built contexts. 

The community board now has 60 days to review the proposal, after which it will go to the Borough President, the City Planning Commission and the City Council as part of the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).  For specifics of the zoning proposal or more details on the ULURP time line, please visit the DCP website. 

Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning is responsible for the City's physical and socioeconomic planning, including land use and environmental review; preparation of plans and policies; and provision of technical assistance and planning information to government agencies, public officials, and community boards.

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