Yesterday, the City Council voted to suburbanize another piece of Queens. This time it was the neighborhoods of Sunnyside and Woodside getting rezoned. The plan helps preserve the neighborhoods’ character by limiting new development to a few main thoroughfares, but as arguably two of the best neighborhoods in the city, limits newcomers. “The pace of development in Sunnyside and Woodside has increased in recent years for many reasons, including its attractive and well-kept streetscapes, bustling commercial corridors, and convenient mass transit to and from Manhattan,” local Councilman Jimmy Van Bremmer said in a release, which you can read in full after the jump. “By taking this action today, we will prevent development that is out of character while protecting the low density nature of much of the area.”
Better get in while the getting is good.
The Sunnyside –Woodside rezoning has been a long time coming and has been one of my top priorities since I took office in January 2010. It has been a collaboration of many entities – community groups, City Planning, the Community Board, my office, and many more.
This 130 block rezoning goes a long way towards preserving the character of our neighborhoods for generations to come. The previous zoning, completed 50 years ago, all too frequently allowed smaller one and two family homes to be torn down in favor of unsightly and out of scale buildings that hurt the stability of these great neighborhoods.
The population of Sunnyside and Woodside is growing in both number and diversity. The pace of development in Sunnyside and Woodside has increased in recent years for many reasons, including its attractive and well-kept streetscapes, bustling commercial corridors, and convenient mass transit to and from Manhattan. By taking this action today, we will prevent development that is out of character while protecting the low density nature of much of the area.
One of the most exciting aspects of this rezoning is the lifting of restrictions of sidewalk cafes along Queens Boulevard while also allowing for small, unenclosed cafes on portions of Skillman Avenue. This will aid small businesses along Skillman Avenue and Queens Boulevard by increasing the walkability of those streets, bringing added vibrancy to these commercial strips. The increased foot traffic will bring more people out to shop at surrounding stores, improving our local economy. I am proud to be a part of this rezoning and proud to help preserve the character of District 26.
This plan was developed through extensive collaboration between City Planning, Community Board 2, the community residents and myself. Thanks to my constituents for sharing their views, including the over 100 who attended my town hall on this rezoning last June. Thank you to Speaker Quinn, Land-Use chair Leroy Comrie, Zoning and Planning Subcommittee Chair Mark Weprin, the Land Use Staff, including Danielle DiCerbo and Gail Benjamin. Thank you to Community Board 2 chair Joe Conley and land use chair Lisa Deller. Thank you to the Department of City Planning, including Commissioner Amanda Burden, Queens Planning Commissioner John Young, Tom Smith and Penny Lee. Finally, thank you to my staff, including Joe Kenton and Matt Wallace for all of their hard work through the entire process.