Like other Queens neighborhoods of its size, Bayside has a variety of land uses and building types, most in the form of low-scale residential and commercial development. The area’s predominant context is characterized by low-density one- and two-family, detached and semi- detached residential development. While much of the earliest development in Bayside dates to the middle of the 1800s, most of the area’s residential and commercial structures were built after the extension of the Long Island Rail Road in the late 1800s. The period of greatest construction growth took place in the 1930s and after World War II. Of the 7,046 lots proposed to be rezoned, 95 percent are residentially developed, most of them with detached residences.
Retail shops and other commercial uses serving the residential community are located along Northern, Bell, and Francis Lewis boulevards; a one-block length of 35th Avenue; three blocks along 48th Avenue; and three blocks along the Long Island Expressway. These streets, including the strong town center at the intersection of Bell and Northern boulevards, have various commercial zoning designations as described below. Other than these commercial corridors, Bayside is zoned solely for lower density residential use. However, the existing zoning districts—R2, R3-1, R3-2, R4, R4A—do not always match the existing housing context and therefore do not sufficiently protect against new development that is inconsistent with that context. The key requirements of each existing district follow.
The R2 district permits one-family, detached residences on 3,800 square-foot lots that have a minimum width of 40 feet. The maximum floor area ratio (FAR) is 0.5. There is no absolute established maximum building height; instead the building’s maximum height is determined by its sky exposure plane, which varies depending on where a building is located on its zoning lot.
The R3-1 district limits residential development to one- and two-family housing, in detached or semi- detached buildings. Detached residences have a minimum lot area of 3,800 square feet and a minimum lot width of 40 feet. Semi- detached residences have a minimum lot area of 1,700 square feet and a minimum lot width of 18 feet. The maximum FAR is 0.6, which includes a 0.1 attic allowance. The maximum building height is 35 feet, and the maximum perimeter wall height is 21 feet.
The R3-2 district is the lowest density general residence district in which multifamily structures are permitted. A variety of housing types are permitted including garden apartments, row houses and semi- detached and detached houses. The maximum FAR is 0.5, plus a 0.1 attic allowance. Density, minimum lot width and lot area depend upon the housing configuration: detached structures require a 40-foot lot frontage and 3,800 square feet of lot area; other housing types require lots that have at least 18 feet of frontage and 1,700 square feet of area. The maximum building height is 35 feet, and the maximum perimeter wall height is 21 feet.
The R4 district allows the same variety of housing types as the R3-2 district but at a moderately higher density. Detached residences are limited to lots with a minimum of 3,800 square feet in area, and which also have a minimum lot width of 40 feet. Semi- detached and attached residences are limited to lots with a minimum of 1,700 square feet in area, and which also have a minimum lot width of 18 feet. The maximum FAR is 0.9, which includes a 0.15 attic allowance. The maximum building height in this district is 35 feet.
The R4A district limits residential development to one- and two-family detached residences, on 2,850 square-foot lots with a lot width of at least 30 feet. The maximum FAR is 0.9, which includes a 0.15 attic allowance. The maximum building height is 35 feet, and the maximum perimeter wall height is 21 feet.
The C1-2, C2-2 and C2-3 overlay districts mapped within residential districts along Bayside’s commercial corridors permit the range of local retail and service establishments typically needed in residential neighborhoods. The C2 district permits a wider range of uses than the C1 district, but the maximum FAR of 1.0 is the same for both. Commercial uses are limited to the first or second floor. Accessory parking requirements are determined by a given site’s use and may range from one space per 300 square feet to one space per 1,000 square feet in the C2-3 district.
In addition to the C1 and C2 overlays, a small C8-1 district, which allows automotive and other heavy commercial uses, is located between Bell Boulevard and 216th Street, along both sides of the Long Island Rail Road.
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