Old Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel

Old Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel
Update

Resilient Neighborhoods: Old Howard Beach entered public review on October 19, 2020. PDF Document View the Department of City Planning Certification presentation.

On June 21, 2017, City Council adopted the Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach resiliency rezonings which are now in effect.

Among the recommendations from the Old Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, and Broad Channel study, local zoning actions for each of these communities were identified as priorities for near-term implementation. Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, and Old Howard Beach were studied in part because they are among the most vulnerable to flooding in the city. These three neighborhoods face flood hazards from storm surges and experience periodic tidal flooding in some parts, a condition likely to become more severe over time with projected sea level rise. To reduce these flood risks and plan for adaptation over time, the rezoning s for these three neighborhoods places limits on new development in these highly vulnerable areas.

The new zoning for Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach was approved by the City Council on June 21, 2017, and is now in effect. The official zoning text which established a Special Coastal Risk District, and the official zoning maps, 18b for Hamilton Beach; and 24b, 24d, 30a, and 30c for Broad Channel are available.

Proposed zoning for Old Howard Beach entered public review on October 19, 2020.

Detached houses on narrow lots in Hamilton Beach
Detached houses on narrow lots in Hamilton Beach
Flooded street end in Broad Channel
Flooded street end in Broad Channel

Prior to the 2017 rezoning, Broad Channel was zoned R3-2 with C1 and C2 commercial overlays located in two areas along Cross Bay Boulevard. Hamilton Beach was zoned R3-1 with a C1-2 commercial overlay in Coleman Square, a commercial node located to the north of the neighborhood. These zoning districts were unchanged since 1961 when the current Zoning Resolution was adopted and did not reflect the established building pattern in these two neighborhoods, which is predominately detached residential buildings on narrow lots, or the current and future flood risk.

Old Howard Beach is currently zoned R3-1 and R3-2 within the rezoning area, which reflects a low-density residential neighborhood. Like Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach, the neighborhood’s zoning has remained unchanged since 1961 and does not consider current and future flood risk. Limiting future development to detached housing in the majority of the area and semi-detached housing along one block of Huron Street will strengthen the neighborhood against future flooding by providing easier ways to elevate and retrofit existing and future homes and maintain neighborhood character.

The flood risk in Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach is complicated by the fact that these neighborhoods have extensive shorelines, mostly under private ownership, and investing in shoreline protection would be difficult and costly. In addition, proposed regional investments in coastal infrastructure only address risk from storm surge and will not protect against high tides. Moreover, each neighborhood has limited transportation access options during a storm or flood event, making evacuation and emergency access challenging.

Due to the exceptional flood risk in Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, and Old Howard Beach, the adopted land use regulations are intended to limit increases in population, while simultaneously allowing individuals to make property investments to safeguard their existing homes and businesses in ways that are consistent with the built context.

The rezoning seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Reinforce each neighborhood’s character and established building patterns by replacing existing zoning with new lower-density contextual zones.
  • Address flood risk and limit the density of future development by restricting residential development to detached buildings, which are easier to elevate and retrofit to flood resistant standards.
  • Reflect the concentration of water-dependent uses such as marinas on the eastern shoreline of Broad Channel.
  • Provide commercial buildings in Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach relief from high off-street parking requirements that may make retrofitting more challenging.

The rezonings for Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach in 2017 and the proposed rezoning for Old Howard Beach reflect the neighborhoods’ exceptional flood risk and its established development patterns. Each of the neighborhood rezonings work in tandem with the citywide text amendment Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency to provide more flexibility in retrofitting existing homes and constructing new homes to resilient standards.

The rezoning for Broad Channel includes:

  •  The establishment of a new Special Coastal Risk District to denote the flood risk and limit development to single-family residences, and also prohibit community facilities with sleeping accommodations
  •  A rezoning from R3-2 to R3A to limit new development to detached houses and reflect the area’s lot width conditions.
  • A rezoning from R3-2 to C3A on Broad Channel’s south-eastern shore to bring existing marinas into zoning conformance.
  • A rezoning from C1-2 to C1-3 to help commercial uses on small lots that may not be able to accommodate the off-street parking requirement under current zoning reconstruct if damaged or destroyed.

The rezoning for Hamilton Beach includes:

  • The establishment of a new Special Coastal Risk District to denote the flood risk and limit development to two-family residences to lots at least 40 feet wide, and also prohibit community facilities with sleeping accommodations.
  • A rezoning from R3-1 to R3A, which would limit new development to detached houses and reflect the area’s lot width conditions.
  • A rezoning from C1-2 to C1-3 in Coleman Square to more adequately reflect existing commercial uses and development patterns.

The proposed rezoning for Old Howard Beach includes:

  • A rezoning from R3-2 and R3-1 to R3X to limit new development to detached houses that are easier to retrofit and elevate.
  • A rezoning from R3-2 to R3-1 to limit new development along Huron Street to semi-detached homes that are characteristic of the block.


DCP worked with the communities in Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, and Old Howard Beach to advance rezonings that prevents a substantial increase in population in these vulnerable neighborhoods and promote a detached housing typology that is easier to make flood resistant in order to better protect the neighborhoods against future flooding.

On October 19, 2020 the Department of City Planning certified the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application for the Resiliency Rezoning in Old Howard Beach (210133 ZMQ). Over the next seven months, the public will be able to formally comment on the proposal.

The public review milestones for Old Howard Beach are shown on DCP’s Zoning Application Portal.

On February 21, 2017 the Department of City Planning certified the ULURP applications for the Resiliency Rezonings in Broad Channel (N 170257 ZRQ and C 170256 ZMQ) and Hamilton Beach (N 170267 ZRQ and C 170255 ZMQ). During this time, the public had the opportunity to formally comment on the proposal. Community Boards 10 and 14, the Queens Borough President, the City Planning Commission, and the City Council Zoning Subcommittee held hearings and issued formal recommendations prior to its adoption by City Council on June 21, 2017.

Milestone Date
Department of City Planning Certification February 21, 2017 - PDF Document View the presentation
Queens Community Board 10 Review April 6,, 2017 - PDF Document View the presentation
Queens Community Board 14 Review April 19, 2017 - PDF Document View the presentation
Queens Borough President Review April 27, 2017 - PDF Document View the presentation
City Planning Commission Review May 22, 2017 - PDF Document View the presentation
City Planning Commission Approval June 7, 2017
City Council Hearing June 20, 2017 - PDF Document View the presentation
City Council Approval June 21, 2017

For more information contact: ResilientQueens_DL@planning.nyc.gov