North Flushing to get long−awaited rezone

By Stephen Stirling

After more than 10 years of waiting, the residents of North Flushing may finally get the rezoning they have clamored for.

Plans to rezone 257 blocks of the northern Queens community were formalized last week when Department of City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden announced the agency had started the public approval process.

“Good planning requires that we recognize and tailor zoning to the unique needs of each one of our neighborhoods. Working closely with the community and Council members [Tony] Avella and [John] Liu, we have developed a fine−grained rezoning to protect North Flushing, one of the city’s most beautiful, low−density communities,” Burden said.

The North Flushing rezoning plan, if approved, would include a new zoning designation, R1−2A, Burden said was “tailor−made” for the community’s prevailing single−family home structure.

The R1−2A rezoning would seek to prevent out−of−scale development in areas with one−family detached residences on large lots by closing existing loopholes that allow developers to build larger projects.

Community Board 7 was expected to host the first public hearing on the proposal at the Holy Cross High School Auditorium at 26−20 Francis Lewis Blvd. this Thursday at 7 p.m.

The rezoning, designed to protect the single−family home communities in Broadway−Flushing, Linden Hill and a portion of Bayside from overdevelopment, has been delayed for several years as the DPC undertook larger, more complicated plans, such as the rezoning of Jamaica, which passed last year.

Avella, a Democratic representing much of the area with an office in Bayside, said the project is a victory for the community.

“The North Flushing rezoning proposal will help to restore the quality of life on many blocks in this community” Avella said. “The construction of multiple homes in place of a single−family house and the construction of McMansions in this quiet community will not be allowed to continue unchecked. This rezoning will help to end all that.”

Paul Graziano, an urban planner and president of the Historic Districts Council, said work on the proposal has ramped up in recent months and he commended the DPC for moving quickly on the plan.

“While we were promised over three years ago that this rezoning was going to occur, the fact that it’s actually happening now is great,” said Graziano, who has aided in rezoning plans for much of northern Queens in the last five years. “I give City Planning a lot of credit for acting now and acting quickly to get this done.”

The rezoning plan would cover an area bordered by Union Street to the west, 25th Avenue and Willets Point Boulevard to the north, Francis Lewis Boulevard and the Clearview Expressway to the east and Northern Boulevard and Long Island Rail Road tracks to the south.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

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