Warm Reception for North Flushing Rezone
by Shane Miller
Feb 04, 2009 | 2625 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Tony Avella, along with about 200 resident and community board members, watches a presentation by the Department of City Planning detailing the North Flushing rezoning.
Councilman Tony Avella, along with about 200 resident and community board members, watches a presentation by the Department of City Planning detailing the North Flushing rezoning.
Community boards 7 and 11 held a joint hearing last week to gather public comment on the Department of City Planning's (DCP) proposed rezoning for the neighborhoods of North Flushing.

Approximately 200 people gathered in the auditorium of Holy Cross High School to watch a presentation on the proposal and then offer up their own comments.

It was far from a contentious meeting, as the rezoning has long been anticipated by the residents who live within the 257 blocks included in the study. In fact, if there was any complaint, is was that the scope of the project, one of the largest contextual rezonings the city has ever undertaken, was not large enough.

"Auburndale has been cut in half," said Community Board 11 member Henry Euler. "When will the rest of Auburndale be downzoned?"

In answer to his question, a representative from DCP said that the rest of Auburndale is included in a rezoning study with Oakland Gardens and Hollis Hills that should be completed some time soon, although he couldn't give an exact time frame.

Councilman Tony Avella told the crowd that they should be happy that what has been studied so far is on the way to getting rezoned.

"Getting any rezoning is nearly impossible," he said. "We are lucky we are getting this."

Most in attendance were pleased with the changes for the blocks that were included in the rezoning proposal. The area is generally bounded by Union Street to the west, the Clearview Expressway and Francis Lewis Boulevard to the east, 25th Avenue to the north, and Northern Boulevard and Depot Road to the south.

The current zoning of the area has resulted in a number of modest single-family homes being torn down and replaced with much larger single-family homes or even multi-family homes.

"This area should not be zoned R-5," said Avella at last Thursday's hearing of the current zoning designation in some areas of the study. "That some of it is zoned R-6 is just ridiculous.

The new zoning would scale that back extensively to preserve the single-family, low-rise character of the area. It will also reduce the area zoned for commercial space to prevent the encroachment of commercial establishments into predominately residential areas.

The proposal also spawned the creation of an entirely new zone. The R1-2A zone is intended to specifically address 27 blocks within the Broadway-Flushing neighborhood.

Within these blocks, there are many large single-family homes that sit on large lots, in some cases 60 feet by 100 feet. The new zoning classification would place restrictions on new developments that would keep them more in line with the existing housing stock, preventing developers from using current lot coverage and height guidelines to construct massive homes.

The new zoning designation will now be used across the city to protect unique neighborhoods like Broadway-Flushing.

"It's not only in this area, but there are similar homes across the city," the DCP representative explained.

On Monday, Community Board 11, which has about 50 blocks in the rezoning area within its board boundaries, voted nearly unanimously in favor of the rezoning. Community Board 7 has scheduled a vote on the proposal for its February 9th meeting.

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