CB 12 OKs rezone for south Jamaica

CB 12 OKs rezone for south Jamaica
Clyde Vanel (l.) speaks before Community Board 12 during their monthly meeting. The board also approved a massive rezoning for south Jamaica during the meeting. Photo by Ivan Pereira
By Ivan Pereira

The city’s plan to rezone nearly 530 blocks of South Jamaica passed its first hurdle last week after Community Board 12 unanimously voted for the change during its monthly meeting.

The rezoning, which now needs approval from the borough president, Department of City Planning and finally the City Council, was created to stop the out-of-character development that has taken place recently in the area made up of one- and two-family houses, according to representatives from City Planning who attended the Jan. 19 meeting.

South Jamaica residents who have called for the proposal for years have said the current designations have been left unchanged since 1961 and allowed for large buildings to be built, according to the board’s district manager, Yvonne Reddick.

“We’ve been waiting for it,” she said of the plan.

The rezoning includes the neighborhoods bounded in the north by Liberty Avenue, 108th Avenue and South Road; in the east by Merrick and Springfield boulevards; in the south by North Conduit Avenue; and in the west by the Van Wyck Expressway.

“This is the largest rezoning in the administration’s history,” said Deborah Carney, the deputy director of the Queens Office of City Planning.

The majority of those blocks are currently zoned R3-2, which allows for all building types, but under the proposal those blocks would be redesignated as R3A and R3X, both of which mandate that only one- and two-family homes can be built on lots.

In addition to the residential changes, the zoning creates commercial overlays on Merrick, Sutphin and Rockaway boulevards that reduce the encroachment of stores on residential streets and update parking requirements.

City Planning added another aspect to the rezoning plan to combat obesity and the lack of food stores in the area. Businesses in the zoning area can apply for the city’s Food Retail Expansion to Support Health program and receive tax benefits if they open supermarkets that carry fresh fruits and produce.

Southeast Queens has a shortage of healthy food marts, according to data collected by City Planning.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.

More from Around New York