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October 5, 2007

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


October 5, 2007 –City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden announced that public review is underway for a rezoning proposal of nearly 40 blocks designed to preserve the neighborhood character of the Briarwood community in central Queens. The proposal was championed by Council Member James Gennaro and developed in close consultation with the local civic association. The rezoning will prevent out-of-character development and more closely reflect the established building types by utilizing lower density and contextual zoning designations.

"City Planning's proposal to preserve the established character of Briarwood furthers the Bloomberg Administration's goal of protecting our lower density neighborhoods," said Director Burden. "Our fine-grained rezoning provides a block-by-block update to zoning changes implemented in 1996 to  reinforce the distinctly varied built character of the Briarwood neighborhood that its residents prize."

To update decades old zoning, most of Briarwood was rezoned in 1996. However, with the strong population growth of in this part of Queens, ongoing redevelopment pressures were fostering new buildings that are increasingly out of character with neighboring structures.
The proposed zoning changes would generally ensure that any new construction will match the one- and two-family houses and three to four story multi-family buildings that are prevalent in the rezoning area. Within the rezoning area, zoning designations generally would be changed from the existing residential zoning districts (R3A, R4, R4-1 and R6A) to zones that more accurately reflect existing building types and occupancy (R3X, R4, R4A, R4B, R4-1 and R5D). 

The rezoning area is generally bounded on the east by Parsons Boulevard, on the west by Queens Boulevard and the Van Wyck Expressway, on the north by the Grand Central Parkway and on the south by Hillside Avenue.

Since 2002, the Bloomberg Administration has been working throughout Queens to safeguard the borough's lower density communities by updating decades-old zoning and directing growth to transit-rich areas that can sustainably accommodate it. In Queens alone 25 rezonings have been adopted covering over 2800 blocks.

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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