QUEENS — The city’s proposals to increase the number of affordable housing units through zoning amendments prompted skepticism among Community Board 6 members, who worried that the plan would lead to further parking shortages in the area as some of the new developments would not be required to provide off-street parking.
Representatives of the Department of City Planning gave their presentation during a CB6 meeting Wednesday night and discussed two zoning text amendments which seek to address the city's need for affordable housing.
The proposals — part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years — would require a share of new housing units built in newly rezoned areas to be "permanently affordable."
The plan would also increase maximum building heights "to encourage housing production and increase design flexibility."
In most cases, a new building's maximum height within the CB6 area would rise by 5 feet, but depending on zoning limits, it could increase by as much as 25 feet in some locations.
The proposal would also eliminate parking requirements for some affordable and senior housing buildings located in "the transit zone."
In the case of CB6, the transit zone has been marked along Queens Boulevard, according to the presentation.
That idea, based on the city’s assumption that many seniors and people with lower incomes don’t drive as much, seemed to upset CB6 members the most.
"You are assuming that senior citizens don’t use cars — that’s a wrong assumption," said Joseph Hennessy, the chairman of the board, adding that the area already suffers from parking shortage.
"If you take away the car from an American person, you take away their right at any time within 24 hours to move out for whatever reason, to the doctor, to the hospital, to do shopping, whatever it may be."
Hennessy also said that the public transportation in the Forest Hills and Rego Park area that seniors and other residents are expected to rely on, "is not satisfactory."
The rezoning plan is currently in the public review phase, and is expected to go before the City Council in about six months.
Hennessy said the Planning and Zoning Committee will review the proposals and the board will vote on them later this year.