As Community Board looks at downzoning Ridgewood, lawmaker wants Middle Village to be included

Photo via Google Maps

With Community Board 5 (CB 5) in the process of looking at downzoning portions of Ridgewood’s major shopping strips, one lawmaker wants to include Middle Village — as well as Maspeth and Glendale — in that discussion, as the neighborhood has seen an increase in home conversions.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley has been receiving calls from her constituents since July regarding the conversions of single-family to two-family rowhouses in Middle Village, and is in the process of writing a letter to Marisa Lago, director of the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP), requesting a zoning text amendment that would prevent such conversions.

QNS has received a copy of the letter.

In 1994, the area of Middle Village loosely bound by Juniper Boulevard North, 76th Street, Eliot Avenue, and 84th Street (full map below) was rezoned to a R4B District, which allows single- and two-family detached, semi-detached and attached residences. Crowley’s current request will encompass the same area in order to protect those rowhouses.

Map courtesy of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley's office
Map courtesy of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s office

The area was additionally rezoned in 2009 to include 300 blocks, along with portions of Maspeth, due to construction and development that was out of scale in the neighborhoods.

The problem with these conversions, according to Crowley, is that they are not only changing the character of the community, but also putting a strain on the neighborhood’s already taxed infrastructure, parking needs and schools.

“These conversions are straining our existing roads and schools,” Crowley wrote. “These conversions are substantially changing the character of the built form in this rowhouse community through new rear yard additions that limit the air and light to neighboring residents, and altering the architectural character of the neighborhood by adding two doors to the façade of the two-family rowhouses where the majority of the neighborhood is defined by facades with a single doorway entrance.”

Crowley officially gave her support on CB 5’s proposal to downzone parts of Fresh Pond Road and Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood during the board’s October meeting, and now wants DCP to take a look at the entire community board area while they are inspecting Ridgewood for zoning changes.

“The Department of City Planning must take another comprehensive look at the neighborhood,” Crowley wrote. “It is our goal to find ways to maintain the existing built form and to ensure that real-world impacts related to parking, traffic and schools are fully considered.”

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