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City to Study Queens Plaza for More Affordable Housing, Bigger Buildings

 The Department of City Planning will conduct a neighborhood study of Queens Plaza and Court Square.
The Department of City Planning will conduct a neighborhood study of Queens Plaza and Court Square.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

LONG ISLAND CITY — The Department of City Planning will be studying Queens Plaza and Court Square to find potential opportunities to squeeze in more housing in through rezoning — specifically affordable units, officials said.

While the boundaries are still being finalized, the study is expected to look at Queens Plaza between the Queensbridge Houses and Sunnyside Yards, and along Northern Boulevard and Jackson Avenue down to Vernon Boulevard, according to John Young, director of the Queens Borough Office at City Planning.

"The idea would be to look at the opportunities around the Queens Plaza, Court Square neighborhoods — to identify growth potential, particularly if we are going to try and continue the evolution of the area," Young said.

"It would be with the objective of identifying if we could follow it up with actual rezoning," he said, saying that the city wants to "continue to support the mixed use character," of the area.

The Wall Street Journal first reported news of the study.

Young said the study's goals are in line with Mayor Bill de Blasio's Housing New York proposal, which aims to create or preserve some 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years.

"We were asked to look at areas where we could anticipate more housing to occur," he said, with the aim of requiring the construction to also include affordable units. The city would look to create incentives for housing for "a broad range of incomes," he said.

Queens Plaza was one of four areas Community Board 2 identified last year when asked about parts of the district where the development of affordable housing might be possible, according to chairman Pat O'Brien.

"There's a lot of things to be considered in that area," O'Brien said, adding that there are concerns about the impact more housing might have on transportation, sanitation and other infrastructure in the neighborhood.

"Anything like that, you really need to look at the full impact across the board," he said.

Both Queens Plaza and Court Square have seen an influx of residential construction in recent years.

Young said the city will be "looking closely at the infrastructure and the needs of the area."

There was no exact timeline yet for when the study will conclude. Young said they will be meeting with neighborhood stakeholders this spring.