CITY HALL — The City Council unanimously approved Monday a zoning change to allow JetBlue to place a massive, controversial sign atop its Queens Plaza headquarters.
The vote also opens the door for other new signs to be placed on the tops of buildings in a 14-block section of the neighborhood between 23rd Street and Sunnyside Yards.
JetBlue began pushing for the glowing sign, with letters as tall as 25 feet, in February 2011 after the airline decided to relocate its headquarters to the neighborhood. When it moved into the historic Brewster building, at 27-01 Queens Plaza North, earlier this month, zoning regulations didn't permit the sign, and fierce opposition arose in the increasingly residential area.
“We're so pleased that the New York City Council has passed legislation that enables JetBlue to place a sign on the roof of our new home in Long Island City,” said Allison Steinberg, a JetBlue spokesperson, in a statement issued after the vote.
“As New York's Hometown Airline and an iconic New York brand, JetBlue looks forward to contributing to our New York community for many years to come.”
The zoning change addressed the concerns of local community boards that feared the move would lead to too many signs in the area. The amendment approved Monday will restrict signs to companies that occupy a minimum of 20 percent of the total building or at least 50,000 square feet.
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the area, said most buildings there are residential and he does not foresee too many signs coming to Queens Plaza.
“Right now there are no applications or plans for other signs,” he said.
The enormous L.E.D. JetBlue sign will be blue during the day and bright white at night. The airline also said it wants its sign to be as memorable as others in the area, like Pepsi and Silvercup Studios, and has designed it to be similar to their look.
It is not clear when the sign will be installed.