2006-01-13 / Front Page

Boro Pres. Expected To ‘OK’ Bayswater/Far Rock Downzoning

By Miriam Rosenberg


Chris DiOrio, of the Department of City Planning, explains to CB14 members the plan for the downzoning of Bayswater and parts of Far Rockaway.
Chris DiOrio, of the Department of City Planning, explains to CB14 members the plan for the downzoning of Bayswater and parts of Far Rockaway. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was expected Thursday to sign off on a proposed rezoning proposal for Bayswater and Far Rockaway after Community Board 14 unanimously supported it just two days earlier.

CB14’s vote drew an audience of about 60 people to the monthly meeting held Tuesday night. The board‘s Land Use Committee, which held a special meeting last week to consider the issue and hear the public, also supported the measure unanimously, and shared its findings with the full board.

Chris DiOrio, the Department of City Planning’s (DCP) planner for the Rockaways, explained the plan to rezone the 82 blocks involved was done with ending over-development in mind.

Eleven residents signed up for testimony to support the plan. Also, committee representatives who live in the area asked their fellow community board members to vote in favor of it.

Community Board 14’s chairperson Delores Orr and district manager Jonathan Gaska listen to the downzone plan.
Community Board 14’s chairperson Delores Orr and district manager Jonathan Gaska listen to the downzone plan. Harvey Rudnick – a Bayswater resident and a member of Community Board 14 – told of the increasing housing density in the area by describing an existing one-family house that had been torn down for redevelopment.

Another resident, Edward Raskin, said, “Our neighborhood is being destroyed of good housing stock and replaced with more houses on the same spot [where the homes were torn down].”

Enid Glabman testified, “[Our neighborhood] has been destroyed to settle developers greed. “They have taken advantage of outdated [laws].”

DiOrio said, that although the process could take up to five months, it is probably going to move along much quicker.

“The Borough President is holding a hearing in two days, and the City Council wants to move on it as soon as possible,” said DiOrio.

The Queens Borough President’s office was scheduled to hold an open meeting to hear public testimony about the plan on Thursday, January 12. Although the plan was expected to be approved, the result of the meeting was not available to The Wave at press time. After the Borough President’s office, proposal next moves to the DCP’s City Planning Commission for an open hearing to be held in six weeks.

Harvey Rudnick, a member of Community Board 14 and a resident of Bayswater, describes the conversion of an antebellum home in Bayswater.Harvey Rudnick, a member of Community Board 14 and a resident of Bayswater, describes the conversion of an antebellum home in Bayswater. It is those six weeks that worry some residents.

“That’s the killer, that six weeks,” said Phyllis Rudnick, who fears that developers could get more foundations in the ground before the proposal becomes law. “I’m concerned about the span of time between the Borough President’s open meeting and the New York City Planning Commission meeting.”

DiOrio and board members told residents any foundations in the ground when the plan becomes law will be considered vested if developers meet legal requirements.

After the City Planning Commission, the proposal goes to the City Council for final hearings and a vote.

Bayswater residents turn out in force to support the downzoning proposal.
Bayswater residents turn out in force to support the downzoning proposal. The Bayswater area slated for downzone is west of the MTA subway line and is generally bound by Beach Channel Drive to the south and east, Mott Basin to the north and Norton Basin to the west. The Far Rockaway rezone lies along the Nassau County line to the east, Nameoke Street to the west and Brunswick Avenue to the north.

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.

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