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ENB - Region 2 Notices 7/27/2011

Negative Declaration

New York County (Manhattan) - The New York City Planning Commission, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Sunnyside Woodside Rezoning will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. This Revised Negative Declaration supersedes the Negative Declaration issued on February 28, 2011. This Revised Negative Declaration reflects the Zoning Map Amendment (C110207 ZMQ) and Inclusionary Housing Text Amendment (N110208ZRQ) modifications filed by the New York City Council on July 6th, 2011 subsequent to the issuance of the previous Negative Declaration.

The New York City Council modification to the proposal replaces the R7X and C4-5 districts with R7A and C4-4A districts. The modifications reduce the proposed residential densities from 5.0 FAR to 4.6 FAR. Consequently, this would eliminate two previously identified development sites, which reduces the number of dwelling units projected as a result of the rezoning by 32 units. This Revised Negative Declaration considers the effects of the modifications made by the New York City Council.

The New York City Department of City Planning (NYC DCP) is proposing zoning map and text amendments (collectively referred to as the "proposed actions") affecting all or portions of approximately 130 blocks and 2,800 lots, roughly bounded by the Sunnyside Rail Yard, 37th Avenue, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the NY Connecting Railroad, 72nd Street, Woodside, Roosevelt and 48th Avenues, and 39th Street in the Sunnyside Woodside neighborhood of Queens, Community District 2, New York.

The proposed actions include four components:

1. A Zoning Map amendment to change all or portions of approximately 130 blocks currently zoned R4, R5, R6, R7-1, C4-2, C8-1 and M1-1 to R4, R4-1, R5B, R5D, R6A, R7A, C4-4A to reinforce established development patterns. This action would result in a modest increase in residential and commercial density.

2. A Zoning Map amendment to update commercial overlay districts in the rezoning area by reducing overlay depth or eliminating overlays where only residential uses exist and establishing new C1-3 and C1-4 overlay districts to reflect existing commercial use patterns.

3. A text amendment to Appendix F of the NYC Zoning Resolution (ZR) to make the Inclusionary Housing Program applicable in R7A and C4-4A districts proposed to be mapped on Queens Boulevard.

4. A text amendment to ZR Sections 14-41 and 14-43 of the NYC Zoning Resolution (ZR) to make small sidewalk cafes permissible on Queens Boulevard and allow only small sidewalk cafés on Skillman Avenue.

It is the objective of the proposed actions to:

• Address concerns about recent development through the use of newer contextual zoning districts to more closely reflect residential building types and development patterns that characterize the neighborhood on a block-by-block basis. The proposed contextual zoning is intended to preserve the scale and character of Sunnyside and Woodside's blocks and ensure that future residential development would be more consistent with the surrounding neighborhood's building patterns.

• Provides opportunities for moderate growth. The proposed R7A and C4-4A districts would support new mixed-use, moderate-density developments along Queens Boulevard. Queens Boulevard is a wide street, functioning as one of the neighborhood's primary commercial corridors, and is well served by public transportation. An Inclusionary Housing program would be applied to the proposed R7A and C4-4A district to provide incentives for the construction or preservation of affordable housing units.

• The lower-scale residential land use patterns found in certain sections of the Sunnyside Gardens Special Planned Community Preservation District in Sunnyside would be more closely reflected by rezoning two areas that are currently zoned R7-1 and M1-1 to R4.

• The modifications to the commercial overlay districts are intended to prevent encroachment of commercial uses on residential blocks, make parking requirements more appropriate, and create new districts that would reflect existing commercial uses and provide new business location opportunities.

• The proposed text amendments for small sidewalk cafés would support the location of such uses along Queens Boulevard were they are currently restricted; and Skillman Avenue, where currently all cafés, including those that are enclosed, are allowed.

The analysis year for the proposed actions is 2020.

Contact: Celeste Evans, NYC DCP, 22 Reade Street, Room 4E, New York, NY 10007, Phone: (212) 720-3495, E-mail: c_evans@planning.nyc.gov.

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