NEW YORK CITY-The City Council on Tuesday approved the rezoningof the Astoria section of Queens, a 238-block swath that hadn’tbeen rezoned comprehensively in nearly half a century. Thedownzoning was intended to put a cap on the height of residentialprojects in the area, which has seen its share of out-of-scaleapartment buildings in recent years.

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According to the Department of City Planning, the rezoning inthis eastern Queens neighborhood focuses on two large existingzoning districts: R5 to the north of the Grand Central Parkway andR6 to the south. “These residential districts have not beenmodified since their initial implementation in 1961, and since theyallow a variety of building envelopes and housing types, newlyconstructed buildings have been increasingly inconsistent withprevailing scale, density and built character,” the DCP says in itssummary of the rezoning proposal.

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Among other things, the rezoning calls for incentives for thedevelopment of affordable housing through the city’s InclusionaryHousing Program on blocks fronting Vernon Boulevard, 21st Streetand 31st Street. The rezoning is also intended to encourage newdevelopment along some of the neighborhood’s wider streets,commercial corridors and the transit hubs near the N train.

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“We worked in close partnership with Council Member PeterVallone Jr. to develop this proposal, and received extensive inputfrom Community Board 1, local civic associations and manyneighborhood residents who care about Astoria’s future,” saysplanning commissioner Amanda Burden in a statement. “This rezoningwill ensure that Astoria, a unique and culturally rich shopping anddining destination, will no longer be threatened by out-of-scaledevelopments, and will remain an appealing community and a livelydestination for Queens residents and all New Yorkers.”

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Tuesday’s City Council vote marks the Bloomberg administration’s101st rezoning since 2002. To date, the zoning has been updated formore than 8,600 blocks citywide, more than half of which are inQueens, according to DCP.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.