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City presents Woodside, Sunnyside rezoning proposal

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Taller buildings may be coming to Queens Boulevard as part of a proposed rezoning of Sunnyside and Woodside, but that would come in return for limited height for developments on residential side streets, city officials said.

John Young, Queens commissioner for the Department of City Planning, said 40 people came out to hear the preliminary details of the proposal at a meeting Feb. 24.

“What’s better with our newer tools is that everything is much more predictable,” he said in a telephone interview last Thursday. “The heights of buildings have maximum heights and the way buildings get placed on the lots is much more respectful.”

The proposed rezoning comprises 130 blocks of Sunnyside and Woodside bounded by 37th Avenue and the Sunnyside Yards to the north; the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and 72nd Street to the east; Woodside, Roosevelt and 47th avenues to the south; and 39th Street to the west. The area was last rezoned in 1961.

The new zoning would create a commercial corridor on the western end of Queens Boulevard that would allow buildings up to 12 stories high, but drastically reduce the maximum building size in Woodside’s residential areas.

The DCP will spend the next six months conducting studies on the environment and traffic in the area and meeting with Community Board 2 before reaching its final zoning recommendations, Young said.

Don McClelland, president of the United Forties Civic Association, said he largely agreed with the plan in its early stages, but he said other city agencies should be consulted during the initial rezoning study.

“I think they should be in on it in the very beginning, too, because there are a lot of problems with parking,” he said. “There’s a lot of problems with illegal conversions. There’s a lot of problems when this starts to happen with mass transporta­tion.”

McClelland said he understood the need for balance between areas for denser and lighter development within a district, but he worried about population growth and its strain on the No. 7 subway train.

“You’re on another planet if you haven’t heard that the MTA service has been questioned lately,” he said.

The DCP will give its next community presentation at the United Forties Civic meeting, 7:30 p.m. March 11 at the St. Teresa’s Parish Center at 50-20 45th St.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 5:48 pm, October 10, 2011
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