The day marked the end of a multi-year effort by elected officials and Community Board 5 members to downzone an area roughly bounded by the Queens-Midtown Expressway, Woodhaven Boulevard, Forest Park, Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Fresh Pond Rd, and 59th Street.
At a press conference, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said the zoning resolution would protect the neighborhoods from over-development while preserving their family-oriented character.
“For far too long, overdevelopment was one of our community’s greatest challenges,” said Crowley, who made the rezone a policy priority upon taking office in January of this year.
“This long overdue rezoning plan will: one, protect our neighborhoods from overdevelopment; two, curb overcrowding and; three, preserve the character of our community,” Crowley said.
She said the downzone would restrict developers from building large, out-of-context residential developments on single-, two-, and three-family homes. The lower density zoning favors smaller development consistent with existing housing.
Gary Giordano, district manager of CB5, praised the rezone, though he said more work still needs to be done.
“It take a big step at better protecting the type of housing that [exists] in these communities,” Giordano said.
Nevertheless, he said, under the new zoning developers can still convert single-family homes into two-family residences, something Giordano said could be addressed in a future, supplemental zoning resolution.