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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2007

CONTACT:
Rachaele Raynoff, Press Secretary -- (212) 720-3471

CITY PLANNING CERTIFIES ZONING PLAN TO PRESERVE CHARACTER OF ST. ALBANS AND HOLLIS, QUEENS


May 21, 2007 – The public review process is officially underway for a proposed rezoning to protect the character of 317 blocks in the southeast Queens neighborhoods of St. Albans and Hollis, City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden announced. The rezoning application is on its way to Queens Community Board 12, after City Planning officially "certified" the plan as complete today. The proposal would provide protections against out-of-scale construction for the predominantly low-rise neighborhood, while maintaining the ability for modest residential growth on the area's wider corridors.  The proposal builds on the Bloomberg administration's commitment to relieve development pressure and provide more predictable building forms in the City's primarily low density communities, while channeling growth to areas with good transportation, such as Downtown Jamaica.  The rezoning was championed by Council Member Leroy Comrie and developed in close consultation with civic associations in St Albans and Hollis, as well as with Community Board 12.

"With our new contextual zoning tools, we will be able to guide future development so that it complements the built fabric of St. Albans and Hollis," said Ms. Burden, "We could have had no better partner in this effort than Council Member Comrie, who is focused on protecting and upgrading the communities he serves.  Working together with him and the community, we have crafted a finely grained zoning approach to reinforce the strengths of these neighborhoods."

The area proposed for rezoning is generally bounded by Merrick Blvd to the west and south, Springfield Blvd and Francis Lewis Blvd to the east, 99th Ave, Farmers Blvd and Brinkerhoff Ave to the north.  The rezoning area is southeast of Downtown Jamaica and is adjacent to Cambria Heights, Queens Village and Laurelton to the west. The zoning proposal would provide:

  • Contextual Zoning Changes: Replace broad R3-2 and R4 zones that encompass more than 300 blocks with lower-density or contextual zoning districts (R2, R3A, R3X, R4-1, R4A, and R4B). These changes would prohibit multi-family garden apartments and rowhouses, allowed under the current zoning, and ensure that future development would reinforce the patterns of one- and two- family, detached, semi-detached and attached housing found in the area. 

  • Corridor Zoning Changes: Rezone block fronts along portions of Hollis Avenue, Farmers Boulevard, Linden Boulevard and Merrick Boulevard from R2, R3-2 and  R6B to R5B and R5D, and two block fronts from R2 and R3-2 to R6A. These new zones allow modest increases in residential development along these wider corridors but include firm building height limits. R5B zoning has a maximum floor area ratio (FAR) of 1.35 and a maximum building height of 33 feet, while R5D zoning has a maximum FAR of 2 and a maximum building height of 40 feet. R6A zoning allows a maximum FAR of 3 and a maximum building height of 70 feet.

  • Commercial Overlay Changes:, Reduce the depths of commercial overlay zones from 150' to 100' to prevent commercial uses from encroaching on residential side streets, and change C1-2 and C2-2 commercial overlays to C1-3 and C2-3 overlays to adjust the parking requirements to match the reduced depth.

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 timeline, 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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