Early report proposes zoning change ideas to Great Neck Plaza for affordable housing

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Early report proposes zoning change ideas to Great Neck Plaza for affordable housing
Paul Bloom, a representative for 14 Park Place LLC which is attempting to build an affordable housing apartment building at 15 Bond Street, speaks before Great Neck Plaza's Board of Trustees. The development could be affected by changing local laws about zoning districts. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Regional Plan Association completed a draft report outlining recommendations for changes to zoning in two Great Neck Plaza residential districts this week, marking a major step forward in drafting laws encouraging affordable housing.

The draft report, which officials said would be online soon, aims to make recommendations that promote providing affordable housing, retain financial feasibility of development and are “consistent and contextual” with the look and feel of the village.

Amending village codes to provide incentives for affordable housing in the respective RT and RD zoning districts has been a consistent agenda item since at least April 2016, village records suggest. Legislators are still in the process of preparing a law.

“This is the start of opening up a public dialogue and public input on this process. We don’t have zoning legislation crafted yet,” Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender said.

The report calls for more than doubling the allowed floor area ratio, increasing how much of the lot the building can cover and capping the number of floors allowed.

It also suggested reserving 20 percent of the units for affordable housing and reducing the minimum apartment size from 1,200 gross square feet to 1,000 gross square feet.

Put together, the report said that the developments could increase the amount of units in developments by 20 percent.

With the RT zone recommendations, FAR would be go from 0.642 to 1.35 and allow a building to cover 50 percent of a lot. Maximum allowed building height would not need to change from its current 40 feet or 45 feet with a permit.

Recommendations for the RD zone, if enacted, would double FAR from 1.0 to 2.0, increase allowed lot coverage from 50 percent to 55 percent and up the allowed building  stories from three to four, so long as there is a five foot set back on the fourth floor. The maximum building height would remain 45 feet.

The report also looks at potential developments arising under new zoning and lot rules at three sites: the St. Paul’s Church Complex, the Great Neck Park District Parking Lot and 23 Bond Street. Compared to proposed developments under current laws, there could be dozens more regular and affordable housing units.

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