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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2003

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

DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING CERTIFIES SWEEPING DOWNZONING PROPOSAL TO PRESERVE TRADITIONAL STATEN ISLAND RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS

September 9, 2003, New York, NY - Department of City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden announced that the Department of City Planning has certified six applications by the Staten Island Borough President’s Office to rezone approximately 40 percent of the borough’s residential lots. The rezoning would ensure that new development is in keeping with the traditional, suburban neighborhood style of primarily one- and two-family detached homes that has made the island an attractive place to live for increasing numbers of New Yorkers.

With an increase in population of nearly 20 percent since 1990, Staten Island’s older residential neighborhoods have seen a surge in construction of row houses and multiple dwellings. In many cases, older homes have been demolished and replaced by town houses.

"Recognizing the explosion in growth that made Staten Island the state’s fastest growing county over the past decade, and its threat to traditional neighborhoods of tree-lined streets and suburban style family homes, I directed the City Planning Department to work closely with the Borough President to make sure these applications proceed quickly through the review process," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

"We’ve done that, said Ms. Burden, "This rezoning is consistent with the Mayor’s goal to preserve neighborhoods with unique character. It will guide future construction on the island so that it will be in keeping with the livable character of older existing neighborhoods," said Ms. Burden. "Neighborhood preservation is a goal we are committed to achieving throughout the city. Whether it’s Riverdale, Throgs Neck or Staten Island, these neighborhoods are assets that have economic benefit to the city."

Ms. Burden, who is co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Staten Island Growth Management, said the Task Force would continue to find solutions to issues of inappropriate development.

Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro, said, "I'm appreciative to the Mayor for keeping his commitment to expedite the downzoning process. I'm confident that the applications will be approved by the various community boards, myself, and City Planning. Hopefully, the City Council will vote on it before Thanksgiving."

The rezoning covers many neighborhoods in all three community board districts, including: Westerleigh, West Brighton, Mud Lane, Willowbrook, New Dorp and Midland Beach.

The majority of the lots subject to rezoning are currently R3-2 districts, a designation that permits one- and two-family attached, semi-detached and detached houses as well as multi-family buildings. These areas would be changed to R2, R3-1, R3A and R3X districts, all of which permit only single and two-family detached houses on varying lot widths. Some areas with a significant presence of semi-detached housing would be rezoned to R3-1, which would prohibit attached houses and multi-family dwellings.

Due to the widespread support for these applications, the Staten Island community boards and the borough president have fast tracked their approval timeline. Following approval by the community boards, the borough board and borough president, the applications will be returned to the City Planning Commission for a public hearing and a vote. Then they go to the City Council for final approval. It is the Mayor’s hope that the Council will vote to approve these applications by the end of the year.

For information on the public review process, please see the Land Use Review Process.


About 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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