Borough President Helen Marshall heard a presentation on the Department of City Planning’s East Elmhurst rezoning proposal last week, a plan the department said will protect the neighborhood’s character and encourage mixed-use development.
The DCP announced a proposal for the start of an official public review process for a 127-block rezoning of East Elmhurst, in addition to 14 block fronts along Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, in June. The plan is intended to protect the existing character of East Elmhurst’s residential blocks, many of which include one- and two-family detached, semi-detached and attached homes.
It would also update commercial overlays to strengthen the area’s main commercial corridors, better reflect current land use trends and inhibit commercial encroachment onto residential side streets.
The rezoning area is bounded by the Grand Central Parkway on the north and east, 32nd Avenue on the south and on the west by a northward line starting at 91st Street and 32nd Avenue to where it intersects with the Grand Central Parkway at 80th Street.
The commercial overlay changes on the south side of Roosevelt Avenue to extend from Elmhurst Avenue on the west to 114th Street on the east. These areas connect the more than 120 blocks of North Corona that City Planning worked with area stakeholders to rezone in 2003 and ’09.
Community Boards 3 and 4 unanimously approved the proposal in June.
At a Land Use public hearing June 27, John Young, director of the Queens office of the DCP, said much of the area’s existing residential zoning — R3-2 and R4 — has remained unchanged since 1961. Recent building trends throughout the area have resulted in the demolition of single-family detached wooden or masonry residential buildings, he said, and replacement structures are out of character and designed as multi-family residences.
“We’ve been working on this proposal continuously for the past few years,” Young said. “The area is continuing to grow, but zoning hasn’t changed for more than 50 years.”
The proposed zoning districts will replace outdated residential zoning with lower-density contextual districts — R2A, R3-1, R3A, R3X, R4-1, R4 and R4B — that will better correlate with existing one- and two-family housing patterns and ensure that future development will be consistent with the established lower-density residential composition. An R6B district is being proposed for Astoria Boulevard.
“It grew a little more than 5 percent between 2000 and 2010,” he said. “A lot of that growth is fueled by immigration, particularly from South America, Central America and Asia.”
Marshall will now make a recommendation after listening to the presentation.
City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) said she remains confident that the proposal will eventually become a reality.
“Not only will the latest version of the proposed rezoning go a long way in preserving the neighborhood character,” she said, “but it will also help to reinforce the work I have been doing to better the commercial corridors in my district.”
Following Marshall’s recommendation, the application moves on to the City Planning Commission.
Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at cengelhard
©2013 Community News Group
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