The proposed rezoning of more than 400 square blocks of northeast Queens moved on to the public review process Monday after years of anticipation by local residents.
Community Boards 7 and 11 have 60 days to review the proposal, after which they will decide whether or not they support the project. It will then go before Borough President Helen Marshall, followed by the City Planning Commission and finally the City Council, which has the final say on the proposal.
The entire review process will take no more than seven months. The proposal would rezone much of the Auburndale, Oakland Gardens and Hollis Hills neighborhoods.
The proposed rezoning is the city’s largest rezoning to date and would protect one- and two-family homes and prevent out-of-scale development, according to the Department of City Planning. It also would reinforce commercial uses along wide corridors but keep them out of residential areas, the department said.
“This rezoning proposal would require that the many quiet blocks of Auburndale, Oakland Gardens and Hollis Hills that are lined with one- and two- family homes are protected, that future development is predictable and that moderate density development is limited to wide streets,” Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said in a statement.
CB 7 will consider the rezoning during its June 14 meeting. Eugene Kelty, chairman of the board, said he sees the rezoning as a net positive for residents of the communities and that he believes it will complete a comprehensive rezoning of the area covered by the board.
“I think it’s like the last piece of the puzzle because we did College Point, Whitestone, Queensboro Hill, North Flushing, we did Auburndale down by Whitestone and this is the last piece that we needed to get done to take care of all our area’s zoning,” Kelty said.
Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) also praised the progression of the rezoning process, but qualified his statements by saying he is still working with the city to address the concerns of members of the Station Road Civic Association about auto repair businesses located near residential homes in Auburndale — concerns Kelty also said he hopes to see addressed.
A section of land at the intersection of 172nd Street and Station Road commonly referred to as the “T” was removed from the rezoning proposal and will be looked at once an environmental study by the city is complete, said Halloran, who wrote a letter along with councilmen Peter Koo (R-Flushing) and Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) to the DCP requesting the exception.
“What they did in response to my letter is go back and do a specific environmental impact study for the ‘T’ ... and once that comes back we’ll be able to tell whether there are other zoning options,” he said. “This is going to get kicked back and go to the community board for review once the [environmental] data is released.”
But Station Road Civic Association President Rhea O’Gorman said she believes the councilmen did not fight hard enough to get their concerns addressed before the rezoning proposal moved to public review.
“Its unacceptable because once they isolate the ‘T,’ there is no pressure to address the ‘T.’ The idea was to keep as much pressure as we could on them,” she said. “The councilmen caved, whether it was politics or whatever else.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2010 Community News Group
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