2006-01-06 / Community

CB14 Committee Approves Rezoning: Full Board Could Vote At January 10 Meeting

By Miriam Rosenberg


Community Board 14’s Land Use Committee (and DCP’s John Young, far right) at Tuesday’s meeting.
Community Board 14’s Land Use Committee (and DCP’s John Young, far right) at Tuesday’s meeting. Contributing Editor

The community board’s Land Use Committee voted Tuesday night in support of a proposed rezoning in Bayswater/Far Rockaway, according to a key representative.

The vote followed an hour-long meeting with residents of Bayswater and parts of Far Rockaway at the Bayswater Jewish Center, where a rezoning proposal for those two communities was specifically addressed. Support for the rezoning was unanimous, according to Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska.

At the meeting were John Young, the director of the Queen’s office of the Department of City Planning (DCP) and Chris DiOrio the DCP’s planner for the Rockaways.

The meeting, similar to one held on September 27, was the first step in the public review process to change the zoning of the areas in question since the DCP’s director certified the 82-block rezoning proposal last month.

“We are trying to ensure that housing more closely reflects the current frame work,” said Young as he and DiOrio outlined the proposal to the committee and the residents.

According to the DCP, the Bayswater/Far Rockaway rezoning proposal will rezone some areas currently designated R2 (one family detached housing) to R1-2 (also one family detached but with – among other things – larger minimum lot sizes). All, or parts, of existing R3-2, R4 and R5 (all types of houses) will be rezoned to R3A, R3X, R4A (one to two family detached) and R4-1 (one to two family detached or semi-detached) to allow for lower-density areas and to conform with the contextual look of the neighborhood.

The effort to downzone the areas came after residents began seeing, what they felt, was over-development in their neighborhoods as large old houses were torn down and replaced with several homes in its place. Many people living in the areas say the new houses are out of character with the homes that are already there. Some even say the proposed rezoning, which is in effect a downzoning, doesn’t go far enough.

Young told those residents it was in the community’s interest to adopt the current proposal first, and then revisit the question of downzoning other areas in the future.

Young said the DCP needed to look for the potential for sub-division and needed a pattern to recommend rezoning. “We tried to include as much area as possible,” he said.

Young also addressed the race that exists between builders and those who want to limit – via the rezoning – what they can build. The approval process on the rezoning is being done in an expedited time frame to get the proposal passed into law as quickly as possible.

The committee is expected to make its recommendation to the full board at the next regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 10 at the Knights of Columbus.

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DCP’s John Young and Chris DiOrio explain the rezoning proposal.

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Residents listen to the plans to downzone their neighborhoods.

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