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Latest Long Island City rezoning plan could bring 14K new homes, more commercial and public spaces

Long Island City in Queens, New York. (Shutterstock)
Long Island City in Queens, New York. (Shutterstock)

Long Island City will be getting 14,000 new homes, including 4,000 “affordable” apartments, under the city’s latest an already well-developed pocket of Queens amid the ongoing housing shortage.

The “Long Island City Neighborhood Plan” could also lead to the creation of 16,000 jobs, up to 3 million square feet of commercial space and about 8 acres of new public space along the East River waterfront, according to the draft zoning framework released by the Department of City Planning on Tuesday. It would also include new schools, infrastructure improvements and shoreline safeguards.

The rezoning encompasses a swath of land from roughly the riverfront in the west to Court Square in the east and from Gantry Plaza State Park in the south to NYCHA’s Queensbridge Houses in the north.

The 4,000 units earmarked as affordable would rent for an average of 60% or 80% of the . That’s about $1,630 to $2,174 a month for a studio apartment or $2,097 to $2,796 for a two-bedroom.

The proposed zoning districts unveiled at Monday's Long Island City Neighborhood Plan town hall. (Department of City Planning)
The proposed zoning districts unveiled at Monday’s Long Island City Neighborhood Plan town hall. (Department of City Planning)

The proposal from the City Planning Department is still in its early stages, and was first announced in October by local City Councilwoman Julie Won and members of Mayor Adams’ administration.

“We must commit to building 100% affordable housing on public land, open desperately needed schools, support local businesses, increase green space, and plan for resiliency for our current and future residents,” Won, a Democrat, said in a statement released Tuesday. “Our current developer-driven land use process has led to tremendous growth in our neighborhoods, but at the cost of increased displacement, record high rents, a lack of school seats, green space, and much more.”

Long Island City is one of New York’s , with a 75% population increase since 2010. The area was previously and has been rapidly developing ever since, in tandem with nearby. But the city previously admitted the 2001 rezoning of its affordable housing goals for the community.

It’s the fifth such neighborhoodwide rezoning plan underway from the Adams administration. Others include Jamaica in Queens, Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn, Midtown South in Manhattan and along the Metro-North line in the Bronx.

Long Island City in Queens, New York. (Shutterstock)
Long Island City skyline in Queens. (Shutterstock)

It comes as the city is undergoing a historically bad housing shortage. Adams has looked to zoning as a big part of the solution, moving away from a project-by-project approach in favor of more comprehensive, neighborhoodwide rezonings. The mayor has also spent months championing his “City of Yes” proposal to build a little more housing in every neighborhood by loosening zoning restrictions.

The Long Island City rezoning itself is months away from being enacted, as it has yet to pass through the city’s . That review is expected to be completed by late 2025.

The fact that Won is already onboard bodes well for the plan, as the success of such rezonings typically relies on whether or not it has the support of the local Council member.

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