The rezoning area contains two large existing zoning districts—R5 to the north of the Grand Central Parkway and R6 to the south. These residential districts have not been modified since their initial implementation in 1961, and since they allow a variety of building envelopes and housing types, newly constructed buildings have been increasingly inconsistent with prevailing scale, density and built character. The proposed actions would also affect existing R4 and R6B districts, as well as C1-2, C2-2, C1-3, C1-4, and C2-4 commercial overlay districts. View the zoning comparison chart.
R5 districts are located north of the Grand Central Parkway and on certain midblocks in West Astoria. R5 zoning districts allow all housing types including detached, semi-detached, attached and multi-family residences. The maximum floor area ratio (FAR) for all housing types is 1.25. On blocks that are predominantly built up, a maximum FAR of 1.65 is permitted through R5 infill provisions. R5 zoning requires a minimum front yard depth of 10 feet, which is increased to 18 feet if front yard parking is provided. The maximum building height is 40 feet with a maximum perimeter wall height of 35 feet. Community facilities are permitted an FAR of 2.0. Off-street parking in a grouped facility is required for 85 percent of the dwelling units.
On many of these blocks, R5 zoning controls do not closely reflect some of the important characteristics of existing development, especially on blocks where building heights and yard depths are highly consistent for the length of the block.
R6 districts are currently located throughout most of the rezoning area south of the Grand Central Parkway and east of 21st Street, as well as along Vernon Boulevard. R6 districts allow all housing types. R6 is a height factor district where residential and community facility uses are permitted with no fixed height limits and building envelopes are regulated by a sky exposure plane. A maximum FAR of up to 2.43 is allowed for residential uses and up to 4.8 FAR is allowed for buildings containing community facility uses. Residential development under the optional Quality Housing Program has a maximum FAR of 2.2 on narrow streets (defined as less than 75 feet wide) with a 55-foot building height limit and a maximum of 3.0 FAR on wide streets (defined as 75 feet wide or greater) with a height limit of 70 feet. Off-street parking is required for 70 percent of the dwelling units. This requirement is lowered to 50 percent of the units if the lot area is less than 10,000 square feet or if Quality Housing provisions are used. In R6 districts, if fewer than five spaces are required, then the off-street parking requirement is waived.
Since R6 districts have no firm height limits and the maximum allowable FAR varies substantially between residential and community facility uses, the existing zoning has resulted in the recent construction of several out-of-scale buildings that contrast sharply with the existing surrounding development.
An R4 district is located in a portion of the rezoning area on the block bounded by 30th Avenue, 21st Street, 30th Road, and 14th Street. The R4 district allows a variety of housing types, including garden apartments, row houses and semi-detached and detached houses. The maximum FAR is 0.9, which includes a 0.15 attic allowance. On predominantly built up blocks, a maximum FAR of 1.35 is permitted through R4 infill provisions. R4 requires a minimum front yard depth of 10 feet, which is increased to 18 feet if front yard parking is provided. The maximum building height is 35 feet with a maximum perimeter wall height of 25 feet. Community facilities are permitted at an FAR of 2.0. One parking space is required for each dwelling unit.
The wide variety of housing types allowed by R4 does not closely match the predominantly semi-detached character of this block.
R6B districts are located on either side of 14th Place between Astoria Park South and 27th Avenue, as well as along both sides of Broadway between 21st Street and Steinway Street. R6B zoning allows all housing types at a maximum FAR of 2.0, and limits overall building heights to 50 feet after a setback at the base height of 30 to 40 feet. The front walls of new developments in R6B districts must line up with adjacent structures to maintain existing street wall characteristics. New multifamily residences must provide one off-street parking space each for 50 percent of the dwelling units, and off-street parking may be waived if five spaces or fewer are required.
R6B allows building heights that are substantially taller than the predominant context on 14th Place, while on Broadway, the built context includes is generally exceeding the R6B maximum FAR of 2.0.
Commercial overlays currently include C1 and C2 districts along retail corridors, such as Broadway, 30th Avenue, 31st Street, Steinway Street and Ditmars Boulevard. C1 and C2 overlays are mapped in residence districts and serve the local retail needs (e.g., grocery stores, restaurants) of the surrounding residential neighborhood. C2 districts permit a slightly larger range of service uses (e.g., funeral homes, repair services). The maximum floor area in both C1 and C2 districts is 1.0 FAR with commercial uses limited to the first floor in mixed use buildings. Among the area’s existing commercial overlays, C1-2 and C2-2 districts have higher parking requirements than C1-3 and C1-4 overlays.
Out-of-character four-story building within an R6 district on 36th Street
Out-of-character ten-story building in an existing R6 district on Crescent Street
Recently enlarged three-story building in an existing R5 district on 37th Street