Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hearing Monday on Long-Awaited Rezoning

By Conor Greene

Residents will have a chance to voice their opinions on the city’s plan to rezone about 300 blocks of Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale at a public hearing on Monday.

Community Board 5 will hold its hearing on the Department of City Planning proposal, which is intended to preserve the neighborhoods’ character and prevent out-of-context development, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King High School. The board will then likely vote on the rezoning at its regular meeting on Wednesday.

The effort began more than three years ago when community volunteers went door to door to survey the area’s existing housing stock. However, the rezoning was delayed several times until the department finally certified it late last month. Once it is reviewed by CB 5, it will go to Borough President Helen Marshall, the City Planning Commission and finally to the full City Council for a final vote.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) recently said she hopes to have the new zoning laws in place by the end of the summer. “Since day one in office, I have made rezoning a priority because it is necessary for limiting overdevelopment and to protect the character of our community. I look forward to attending the upcoming hearing and I will continue pushing the Department of City Planning and work… to ensure the rezoning plan is implemented as soon as possible,” she said.

The rezoning area is roughly bounded by the Long Island Expressway to the north, Woodhaven Boulevard to the east, Forest Park and the adjoining cemeteries to the south and Fresh Pond Road and 59th Street to the west.

The proposal’s goal, according to DCP, is to replace the existing, out-of-date zoning “with newer, lower density and contextual zoning districts to more closely reflect the existing built form of the neighborhoods” to ensure that future development “will be more consistent with its surroundings.”

The proposal includes two types of zoning changes: lower density zoning changes to better reflect the existing development and commercial overlay changes to “prevent commercial intrusion on residential blocks.”

On Wednesday, the board will hold its full meeting, also starting at 7:30 p.m. in Christ the King High School cafeteria. Aside from the likely vote on the rezoning, the meeting agenda includes a presentation for the respite center of the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and a review of current alcoholic beverage license applications.

For more information or to register to speak in advance, call the board at (718) 366-1834. Details on the rezoning proposal can be found on DCP’s Webpage at

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