The Department of City Planning (DCP) is proposing citywide text amendments and zoning map changes for an area of approximately 350 blocks in the Bayside area of northeastern Queens, Community District 11 (CD11). The proposal reinforces Bayside’s prevailing residential character and ensures that future development fits the context and scale of the area’s existing housing mix. It is the largest to date of DCP’s lower density rezoning initiatives in Queens.
Although typically developed with one- and two-family detached and semi-detached houses, the area is widely zoned R3-2, a district that permits housing of all types, including multifamily buildings and attached row houses. Much of the area would be rezoned to contextual districts, permitting development of only one- and two-family homes, to maintain Bayside’s longstanding neighborhood character. To curb recent development trends toward unusually large single-family houses in areas currently zoned R2, DCP proposes the establishment of a new low-density contextual zoning district, R2A. This new district would have limits on floor area and height and other bulk regulations that are different from the existing R2 district.
Bayside is located along the northern and eastern boundaries of CD11, bordering Little Neck Bay. The rezoning area is generally bounded as follows: 24th and 26th Avenues to the north; the Cross Island Parkway to the east; Francis Lewis Boulevard and the Clearview Expressway to the west; and the Long Island Expressway to the south.
The area is characterized by large concentrations of one- and two-family detached and, to a lesser extent, semi- detached houses. Multifamily and attached houses tend to cluster near 48th Avenue and Bell Boulevard, and the Bayside town center extends from the intersection of Bell and Northern boulevards.
At the request of Community Board 11, the Borough President’s Zoning Task Force and the local City Councilmember, DCP undertook this zoning study to respond to community concerns about out-of-context and out-of-scale development that could change the character of Bayside. Detached and semi-detached one- and two-family homes are being replaced by new semi-detached or attached structures with multiple units. To preserve the integrity of established housing patterns in these areas, DCP proposes a range of lower density, contextual districts including R1-2, R3-1, R3A, R3X, R4-1 and R4B. The new zoning will assure that new development will be consistent with the surrounding housing context and streetscape.
In addition, continuing development of so-called “McMansions” in the area’s R2 districts has raised increasing community concerns about the effect of these out-sized houses on neighborhood character. In response, the proposal calls for the establishment of a new single-family contextual zoning district—R2A—which would replace existing R2 districts within the Bayside area. The new R2A district would apply bulk, height and setback controls similar to those of other contextual districts, but adapted to the low-density detached framework of the existing R2. The R2A regulations would still permit expansion of existing homes, but with a more predictable building envelope, consistent with the scale and character of neighboring homes.
On November 1, 2004, the Department of City Planning certified the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure(ULURP) application for the proposed zoning map changes, beginning the formal public review process. The application (N 050148 ZRY) for the establishment of the proposed R2A district was concurrently referred to Community Board 11. On January 3, 2005 Community Board 11 voted to recommend approval of the proposed zoning map and text change, subject to conditions. On February 7, 2005 the Queens Borough President submitted her recommendation of the proposed zoning map and text changes, subject to conditions. The City Planning Commission held a public hearing on February 16, 2005 and, on March 14, 2005, adopted the proposed zoning map changes and adopted the proposed zoning text changes with modifications. The modifications allow for a variety of roof designs and remove an offset requirement for detached garages.
( Read the CPC Reports).
On April 12, 2005, the City Council approved the Department's rezoning proposal
for Bayside and the new R2A district both of which are now in effect.
As a result of community input, on April 5, 2005 the Department filed a text amendment to the R2A designation that will establish a requirement for new development to match an adjacent front yard if they are deeper than the minimum 15 feet.
For more information about the Bayside rezoning proposal, please contact the Queens Office of the Department of City Planning at (718) 286-3170.