Wednesday was a big day for New Yorkers who like things just the way they are. The City Council approved the largest zoning amendment in Queens history. It will help maintain the character of three neighborhoods by preserving the existing one- and two-family homes on 418 blocks. This will preserve the low density, suburban feel of the neighborhoods.
A smaller area in the West Village will also be preserved. Its an area that was left out when the Far West Village was rezoned several years ago. Areas around the Queens neighborhoods had also been similarly rezoned in previous years.
Zoning rules dictate what types of development can happen on a piece of property. Wednesday's amendments to the existing rules primarily limit the types, size and footprint of buildings and preserve existing buildings.
Advocates for the rezoned neighborhoods rezoned wanted to fight off development pressures so that the default setting would be preservation and complementary development, otherwise known as contextual rezoning.
In Queens, the neighborhoods of Auburndale, Oakland Gardens, and Hollis Hills were seeing multi-family dwellings and larger homes replace the ubiquitous one- and two-family detached houses. These new buildings had larger footprints, sometimes going right up to the property line. People were also concerned about the commercial development of residential properties and formerly industrial land.
The West Village was seeing proposals for apartment buildings much taller than the existing buildings.