Results of Kew zoning study coming ‘soon’

Civic wants parking to be required for all new residential buildings

It’s been years since the Kew Gardens Civic Association first asked the Department of City Planning to consider studying a possible special zoning waiver for the district, according to group president Dominick Pistone.

And the results of that study are finally almost here.

“While we are finalizing the results of our study, City Planning’s Queens office reached out to Community Board 9’s leadership last week to schedule a meeting next month to review our analysis and preliminary recommendations,” a DCP spokesman told the Chronicle on Tuesday. “We expect to quickly finalize the recommendations after this meeting and will share them with you as soon as they are completed.”

Under consideration is a request to manddate that developers provide on-site parking for all new residential developments in the area — clamping down on the neighborhood’s growing street parking shortage.

Under city zoning law, developers are not required to provide parking lots of 10,000 square feet or less, even if the buildings themselves are larger.

“We have two or three buildings here going up right now where the lots are less than 10,000 square feet but there are dozens of apartments,” Pistone said in a Monday interview. “We’re anticipating total chaos and gladiatorial games to get a spot once they’re built.”

What’s worsened the parking crunch was the recent closure and demolition of the municipal lot near Borough Hall, which contained 400 spaces.

Its elimination has sent motorists scouring for spots on residential streets, Pistone said. And he isn’t confident that such a practice will stop even when the lot’s 302-space replacement opens in the near future.

“We’re already saturated,” he said.

The civic leader added that when the group originally put forth its request, he figured it would take “forever.” But what delayed the study even further, he continued, was a series of staff changes at City Planning.

“We got delayed when the person handling our case got reassigned. The next person quit after a month,” he said. “The third person is ‘working on it’ but every time we call, we’re told the agency is putting the finishing touches on it.”

Kew Gardens is one of the borough’s largest transportation hubs, as multiple high-traffic subway and bus lines intersect in the community.

But the neighborhood’s residents skew older and many are reliant on cars, not subways or buses, for transportation, according to Pistone.

“The notion that you don’t need a car here because you’re close to public transportation is absurd. People need their cars to grocery shop and such,” he said. “That’s why we want a special district and that’s why we’ll keep pushing for one.”