A long-awaited rezoning proposal to preserve the character of Middle Village and Glendale and stop overdevelopment was certified last Wednesday by the City Planning Commission.
The proposal will now go through the Uniform Land Use Review Process and should be approved by the end of the year. When the process is completed, developers will be prohibited from building multifamily homes and apartment buildings in large sections of the communities.
“Respecting and preserving the distinctive character of these neighborhoods, this finely grained proposal will ensure that future residential development will be appropriate to its surrounding area,” said Amanda Burden, chairwoman of the City Planning Commission.
Currently, most of Middle Village and Glendale is zoned R4 or R5, meaning that all types of residences can be constructed, provided they are no taller than 40 feet.
Under the new proposal, an area from 69th Street to Dry Harbor Road will primarily be classified as R4B, allowing only detached, semi-detached and attached one- and two-family houses. The maximum building height will be reduced to 24 feet.
Within that area, some blocks would be more restrictive. South of Juniper Valley Road, a portion of the neighborhood will be classified as R4-1, allowing detached and semi-detached one- and two-family homes to be built up to 35 feet.
Along the eastern end of Metropolitan Avenue, the zoning will not change. All types of buildings, including commercial, up to 40 feet would be allowed. On the western end of the avenue there will be similar zoning, but developers will be able to build up to 50 feet, to encourage commercial growth.
The area south of Metropolitan Avenue to Cooper Avenue will be downzoned to R4-1, so that only detached and semi-detached one- and two-family houses can be built. Currently all types of residences are permitted.
In Glendale, from the Long Island Rail Road to Myrtle Avenue, there would be similar downzoning. Most of that area would be reclassified as R4-1.
The Ivanhoe Park area, from 69th Place on the east, 65th Street on the west, Otto Road on the north and 70th Avenue on the south will be included in the large area being downzoned to R5.
While community leaders praised the Queens Department of City Planning for its effort in creating the proposal, some also criticized the new map for not being inclusive enough.
“Unfortunately, my beef with City Planning is they could have rezoned all of Glendale,” said Paul Kerzner, Community Board 5 Land Use Committee member and president of the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation. “Western Glendale is totally exposed and it will be another year before it’s protected.”
That area was not included because it would have delayed the entire process, according to City Planning officials. “It’s something that we would do for a follow-up study by working with our zoning experts and be getting input from the community,” Queens Director of City Planning John Young said over the summer, while the proposal was still being designed. “But at this time it would significantly delay the process.”
But Kerzner said making the study more inclusive would have been much quicker than starting an entirely new process for the area. His estimate is that it will take at least a year before Western Glendale is rezoned.
Another significant problem with the study, according to community members, is that attached, single-family houses are still at risk. Since there is no classification for that type of residence, many Middle Village-Glendale properties, including homes surrounding Juniper Park, can be replaced with multifamily buildings.
“Large parts of the community where there are row houses are still not protected,” said CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri Jr.
The proposed rezoning is the culmination of an effort that began more than a year ago when the Maspeth-Middle Village Task Force was formed.
Members of the task force, which was formed by Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, did block- by-block surveys of their neighborhoods.
Over the course of two weeks, volunteers wrote down the number of stories of each buiding on each block they walked through. The data was turned over to City Planning to create new maps in line with what exists now.
The rezoning of Middle Village and Glendale is one of 25 projects currently under way throughout the city.