Bayswater/Far Rockaway Downzone Passed by City Council
By Miriam Rosenberg
The City Council threw out 40 year-old zoning regulations on Wednesday when it passed a proposal to downzone Bayswater and parts of Far Rockaway by a unanimous vote.
"This vote is a milestone," said Councilman James Sanders, Jr., who has been working with the area's residents on the matter. "It is a critical one in the defense of our community."
proposal for new zoning regulations came amid a furry of building in the Bayswater area, which residents said brought over-development and new homes out of character with existing ones.
The process to downzone the two areas began last September when representatives from the Department of City Planning first explained the proposal at a Bayswater Civic Association meeting. By January 10, Community Board 14 passed the measure. Since then, it has moved quickly as it was then approved by the borough president and sent to the City Planning Commission where it was passed on March 22. The City Council's Land Use committee passed it earlier this month, setting the stage for passage by the complete council on Wednesday.
"This is a culmination of a long journey where community members came to my office," Sanders continued. "We saved many parts of the community from ravenous developers."
The downzone will require any developer who is not vested (does not have their foundation in the ground) to stop work.
The affected Bayswater area is west of the MTA subway line and is generally bound by Beach Channel Drive to the south and the 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.
The new regulations for the Bayswater/Far Rockaway rezoning will change some areas currently designated R2 (one family detached housing) to R1-2 (also one family detached homes but with, among other things, larger minimum lot sizes); all, or parts, of existing R3-2, R4 and R5 (all types of houses) are being rezoned to R3A, R3X, R4A (one to two family detached houses) and R4-1 (one to two family detached or semi-detached homes) to allow for lower-density areas and to conform with the contextual look of the neighborhood.