A massive rezoning of 530 blocks in the South Jamaica section of Queens has cleared the next-to-last hurdle in the city’s public approvals process. The City Planning Commission voted Wednesday to approve the rezoning, the area’s first in 50 years and the Bloomberg administration’s largest to date.
The proposed rezoning would restrict multifamily development to the area’s major thoroughfares. The plan now goes to the New York City Council for approval.
Most of the buildings within the rezoning area consist of one- and two-family detached houses with small concentrations of one- and two-family semi-detached and attached houses, according to a City Planning overview. “Over the last several years, South Jamaica and its neighboring communities have experienced development pressure largely due to its outdated zoning which has remained unchanged since 1961,” the overview states. The existing zoning districts allow “a variety of housing types and densities that are inconsistent with the prevailing scale and built character of South Jamaica’s neighborhoods.”
The zoning would also establish moderate-density districts to encourage “appropriately-scaled” new housing and businesses along portions of wider corridors in the area, including Sutphin, Merrick and Rockaway boulevards. It would establish building height limits between 30 and 40 feet and also reduce the depths of the commercial overlays on these streets to prevent commercial uses from encroaching on residential blocks, according to City Planning.