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Hunters Pt. rezoning plan aims for more foot traffic

By Alex Davidson

A new zoning plan proposal for Hunters Point would encourage the existing residential and light industry mix in the northwest Queens neighborhood, but also allow for current property owners to upgrade and expand existing buildings, according to a city official.

City Planning Director Amanda Burden told a news conference last week that the initiative, formally known as the Hunters Point Subdistrict Rezoning, also calls for wider streets in the area and a better integration of mass transit into the portion of Long Island City.

“By eliminating complex limitations on residential uses in this pivotal location, the proposal will create opportunities for low- and moderate-density new residential and mixed-use developments that will blend into the neighborhood fabric and bring life and foot traffic to this unique, transit-rich, culturally vibrant neighborhood,” Burden said Feb. 9.

The director said the 43-block area to be rezoned is between the Queens West development along the East River and the Long Island City core centered around Queens Plaza and Court Square.

Specifics of the plan also include goals to allow construction on Jackson Avenue to rise to a maximum of 12 stories, while new buildings on 11th Street would be allowed to go up to six stories. The proposal also calls for a maximum of eight-story buildings along 44th Drive.

The construction of light manufacturing sites would continue as-of-right, which means there would be no need to seek city approval under existing regulations.

A previous rezoning of the Long Island City core occurred in 2001, when the city’s efforts to create a high-density, multi-use district started. This restructuring was followed by the Queens West project, which brought new homes and businesses to the area and spurred the development of other building plans, such as the conversion of the former Pepsi site into high-rise housing.

Burden said the proposal will now be put before the public who will have the opportunity to critique the city initiative. This will include reviews by Community Boards 1 and 2 and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.

The new zoning application would then be returned to the City Planning Commission for a public hearing and a vote.

“The mix of compatible uses will help create a more vital Hunters Point where people will want to live, work and shop — enhancing the adjacent regional business district and continuing the administration’s commitment to create and preserve homes in New York’s neighborhoods.”

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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