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Rezoning Process to Resume Next Month, Several Queens Projects in Pipeline

A rendering of the proposed Special Flushing Waterfront District (Image Courtesy Hill West Architects)

July 15, 2020 by Allie Griffin

The city planning process that determines whether a piece of land can be rezoned will restart in August, after months of inaction due to the coronavirus.

The Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) is a months-long city review process that determines whether a building is allowed to be constructed in an area that does not conform with zoning code.

There are at least four projects across Queens that are in review and where progress came to a standstill due to the pandemic.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that ULURP will restart next month with the City Planning Commission hosting its first meeting since March.

The commission will review ULURP projects that began the public review process prior to March 16.

The most high-profile project in Queens undergoing review is the proposed development at the Flushing waterfront-– which involves a 13-tower, mixed-use complex consisting of 1,700 apartments, office space and hotels.

The project– approved by Community Board 7 and rejected by the Borough President earlier this year– is about to be reviewed by the City Planning Commission. The project is controversial, with many of its opponents saying that it will push rents up and displace existing residents.

Other projects in review involve the rezoning of land by Luyster Creek in Astoria to make way for a Department of Sanitation garage. In Maspeth, Home Depot has filed plans to develop a six-story self storage facility. Meanwhile, plans are undergoing review for a six story mixed use building at 110-40 Saultell Ave.in Corona.

The Commission will also discuss developments that are expected to begin ULURP in the fall.

Development plans that undergo ULURP must be certified by Dept. of City Planning and then– as the first step– be reviewed by local community boards. They then go before the Borough President, City Planning Commission and the City Council.

The community boards — which do not meet in the summer months — will begin reviewing new ULURP applications in September, de Blasio said.

All City Planning Commission meetings will be held virtually for the foreseeable future, de Blasio said. The first meeting is set for Aug. 3 at 1 p.m. and will be livestreamed for public viewing. A second meeting is set for Aug. 5 at 10 a.m.

The mayor said restarting the review process will help New York City create affordable housing and job opportunities for residents in need.

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