In an effort to preserve the suburban character of the area, City Council voted to approve the rezoning of approximately 200 blocks in Woodhaven and Richmond Hill – the first zoning changes to the neighborhoods since 1961 – to limit multi-family construction, the Queens Chronicle reported. Pressure to rezone the area came after developers had begun demolishing freestanding homes and replacing them with apartment complexes to appeal to the many low-income and immigrant families moving to the area. However, the council did modify the proposal to allow larger-scale development on the block between 135th Avenue and Van Wyck Expressway north of Liberty Avenue.
The City Council also approved an upzoning, along Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven and Atlantic Avenue between 104th and 121st streets, to encourage multi-family development over commercial buildings and meet the demand for housing near mass transit. According to the Department of City Planning, rezoning this area will ensure that the densest neighborhoods exist near mass transit, while keeping businesses confined to that area and off of residential blocks.
“After the council’s vote, residents of Woodhaven and Richmond Hill will finally see an end to development that destroyed the neighborhoods’ characteristic one- and two-family homes,” Council member Elizabeth Crowley said. “The new zone also encourages economic growth along Jamaica and Atlantic avenues.” [Queens Chronicle] – Christopher Cameron