The City Council gave its final stamp of approval to the rezoning of 530 blocks in South Queens Tuesday. The unanimous vote puts the plan into motion immediately,
There was little opposition to the plan, which aimed to protect the characteristics of residential homes in the neighborhood.
The rezoned area is bordered roughly by the Brooklyn border to the west, the Belt Parkway to the south, Lefferts Boulevard to the east and Atlantic and 103rd avenues to the north. The zoning area also includes one block on either side of Liberty Avenue all the way to the Van Wyck Expressway. It is the second largest — and last — rezoning of the Bloomberg administration.
The main focus of the rezoning was to prevent the demolition of the unattached, semi-attached or attached one- and two-family homes that dominate the area for larger developments, which has been a problem all across South Queens.
The plan also upzoned the commercial strips on 101st Avenue from the Brooklyn border to the Van Wyck and most of Liberty Avenue along that same length to allow for bigger apartment buildings and more commercial properties. A similar upzoning is to be done as part of the rezoning along Cross Bay Boulevard between Liberty Avenue and the Belt Parkway and Rockaway Boulevard between the Brooklyn border and Cross Bay Boulevard and again between 109th Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard to allow for more commercial development along that stretch. A small area of Lefferts Boulevard between Rockaway Boulevard and 111th Avenue was also rezoned for potential commercial development.
A small section around the Lefferts Boulevard/Liberty Avenue intersection would be downzoned because original zoning regulations would have allowed buildings as high as ten stories.
Both community boards 9 and 10 approved the rezoning in October. Borough President Helen Marshall and the City Planning Commission signed off on the plan last month.
In a statement, the two Council members who represent the rezoning areas praised the plan.
“The new zoning enacted into law today will protect Ozone Park from overdevelopment and help create a more livable neighborhood,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park). “It will also spur new modest development, especially in the commercial districts, thereby creating jobs and increasing property values.”
“Out of character structures and overdevelopment has become far too common in our communities,” said Councilman Ruben Wills (D-South Jamaica). “That is why it was important that we undertook these aggressive measures to protect the integrity of our neighborhoods.”
As the rezoning made its way through the final hurdles over the last two months, ground was broken on new housing developments on previously vacant land on Albert Road in the Centreville section of Ozone Park. At the Dec. 5 meeting of CB 10, Ulrich said the developments there would not be allowed under the new rezoning, but would be allowed if the foundations were poured before the Council approved the rezoning.
“This important milestone, which represents the second largest rezoning initiative we have undertaken in the last 12 years, punctuates our tremendous efforts to ensure development is consistent with the character of neighborhoods, while at the same time fostering new business and housing opportunities near mass transit links,” Mayor Bloomberg added in a statement.