The Department of City Planning proposes zoning map changes for approximately 82 blocks in the Bayswater / Far Rockaway area of Community District 14 in Queens. The area proposed for rezoning is developed predominantly with one- and two-family detached homes, with some pockets of semi-detached houses. The proposed rezoning to lower density and contextual
zoning districts would reflect and preserve the established neighborhood development patterns. The objectives of the proposal are to limit widespread lot subdivision, and to prevent development that is inconsistent with the character of the Bayswater and Far Rockaway communities.
Bayswater and Far Rockaway are two distinct areas separated by the downtown Far Rockaway commercial district. The Bayswater rezoning area is west of downtown and generally bounded by Beach Channel Drive to the south and east, Mott Basin to the north, and Norton Basin to the west. The Far Rockaway rezoning area is east of downtown and generally bounded by Empire and Cornaga Avenues to the south, Nameoke Street to the west, Brunswick Avenue to the north, and the Nassau County line to the east.
The Rockaway Peninsula began to be developed in the early 1800’s with the construction of several hotels that catered to New York’s wealthy upper class. Summer mansions soon followed as the peninsula became a popular seaside resort. The Bayswater neighborhood was laid out around 1878 by William Trist Bailey, who built homes and a brick hotel called the Bayswater House. With the arrival of a steam railroad to Far Rockaway in the mid-1880’s, many more city residents could travel to the Rockaways and several amusement parks opened. After World War II, year-round residents began to move into the Rockaway and Bayswater area as its popularity as a vacation spot declined.
Housing in the area today is a mix of some remaining, original large summer homes and prewar cottages and more recent one- and two-family detached and semi-detached homes built after 1945. Multifamily apartment buildings have been developed primarily along sections of Mott, Central and Cornaga Avenues.
Recently, some homes on larger lots have been demolished and replaced by several smaller homes on subdivided lots, increasing density and changing neighborhood character. Elsewhere, multi-unit row houses and apartment buildings have been constructed in areas characterized by one- and two-family detached homes. The proposed rezoning to lower-density and contextual zoning districts would update zoning that has not been changed since 1961 to better reflect the existing character of these neighborhoods.
On December 19, 2005, the Department of City Planning certified the application for the proposed Bayswater/Far Rockaway Rezoning as complete, commencing the public Uniform
Land Use Review Procedure. Community Board 14 held a public hearing in response to the proposal on January 10, 2006 and recommended approval. The Queens Borough President recommended approval of the application on January 19, 2006.
The City Planning Commission held its public hearing on February 22nd, 2006, and voted to approve the proposal on March 22, 2006. ( Read the CPC Report)
On April 26, 2006, the City Council adopted the zoning changes which are now in effect.
For more information about the Bayswater/Far Rockaway rezoning, please contact the Queens Office of the Department of City Planning at (718) 286-3170.
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