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City Planning wants to protect Maspeth’s residential character

City Planning's John Young and Neil Gagliardi told more than 100 Woodside and Maspeth residents at Woodside's St. Mary's of Winfield Parish Center that the proposed changes - replacing high density areas with contextual zones - will prevent developers from constructing buildings out of character with area neighborhoods."It's a balanced plan for preservation and growth and to reinforce the existing character of your neighborhoods," Gagliardi told the crowd at the Community Board 2 meeting.The proposed rezoning area is composed of six zoning districts, Young said. The first district, located on 19 blocks in central Maspeth, will be rezoned from an R4, R5 and R5B district, which allows higher density buildings, to an R41 zone, which permits one and two-family detached homes and allows buildings to be no more than 35 feet high. The second zone will be 15 blocks with boundaries at Mt. Zion Cemetery, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Grand Avenue at the border of Maspeth and Woodside. This district will be changed from an R4 to an R4B zone, which allows only one and two-family homes and requires one parking space per dwelling unit.The third district, bounded by 58th and 62nd Streets in Woodside, would be changed from R6 to an R5 zone. Both zones allow for multi-family housing, but R5s only allow a building height of 40 feet, while buildings in R6 zones can be as tall as four to eight stories.The fourth district is a portion of one block bounded by 61st and 62nd Streets and 43rd and Roosevelt Avenues. This district would be changed from an R6B to an R5B zone, which permits all residence types, but would better keep the current character of the neighborhood, Young said.The fifth district is proposed to be extended to two partial blocks bounded by Roosevelt Avenue, 50th Street and 52nd Street near Queens Boulevard. This zone will be changed from M1-1, which allows the full range of commercial uses, to R6, which Young said would encourage moderate density housing on sites with close proximity to subways.The sixth district is a 23-block area along Queens Boulevard between 50th and 73rd Streets. The area is currently zoned R4, R5, R6 and M1-1, but City Planning has proposed rezoning it to R7X, which would allow for 10 to 12 story buildings. Residents expressed concerns about developers changing the character of their neighborhoods, parking and the proposed R7X zones."As a lifetime resident of Woodside, I'm definitely against R7X," said Tony Nunziato, of Community Board 5. "We have the most crowded school district in Queens and we have no parking. I think it is unfair to a lot of people who live here to talk about putting up buildings 12 stories high. We are not saying not to develop. But, if you have full occupancy, there's no vacancy."City Planning will meet with Community Board 5 on Jan. 31 to further discuss proposed rezoning for Maspeth.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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