The Special College Point District (CP) was created to maintain an attractive, well-functioning business park setting for business uses and ensure that there are minimal effects on adjacent residential blocks. Specific regulations pertaining to yards, signage, parking and bulk are based in large measure on the former Urban Renewal Plan that successfully guided the transformation of the area since 1971. The corporate park environment is sustained by requiring front and side yards, restricting signage and loading locations, and setting higher parking requirements for certain commercial uses. Street tree planting and landscaping for front yards and parking lots are required for Use Group 17 and 18 uses. All uses must meet M1 performance standards and provide enclosure or screening to minimize impacts upon neighboring uses. Unlike most manufacturing districts, parks and other recreational uses are allowed as-of-right.
The Special Downtown Far Rockaway District (DFR) was created in 2017 as part of a comprehensive plan to strengthen this commercial area by fostering a vibrant mix of uses on vacant and underutilized sites near mass transit and along the area’s primary corridors. The Special District modifies certain regulations in the underlying districts including floor area ratio, street wall heights and setback depths, maximum building height, location of uses, and accessory off-street parking.
The Special Downtown Jamaica District (DJ) builds upon Jamaica’s strengths as a multimodal transportation hub to support the downtown business district, expand housing and economic opportunities along the area’s major streets and transportation corridors, protect adjacent low-density neighborhoods and create affordable housing. The district’s use regulations encourage mixed use development in denser transit-oriented locations convenient to shoppers and its bulk provisions allow taller buildings with higher floor area ratios at the transit hubs.
The transition rule regulates the change in building massing from taller building portions allowed along wide streets to a reduced scale for building portions that abut smaller homes in lower density residential zoning districts. The district’s controls pertaining to glazing, street walls, retail continuity, sidewalk widening, sidewalk cafes and other streetscape elements support an attractive and viable downtown area. The Inclusionary Housing designated areas Program provides incentives for affordable housing in 70 blocks in Downtown Jamaica and along nearby portions of Hillside Avenue.
The Special Flushing Waterfront District (FW) builds upon the success of the Flushing neighborhood and seeks to expand housing and economic opportunities westward, along the Flushing Creek waterfront. The district’s use regulations encourage mixed use development, while its bulk regulations are crafted to address the area’s proximity to the flight paths of LaGuardia Airport. Special streetscape regulations create a retail and open space network throughout the special district that will integrate the upland, downtown Flushing area with new waterfront esplanades.
The Special Forest Hills District (FH) is centered on Austin Street, a vibrant commercial hub that serves the residents of Forest Hills and the surrounding area with a successful mix of shops and restaurants. Bounded by Queens Boulevard, Ascan Avenue, the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and Yellowstone Boulevard, the district encompasses a 10-block area; its provisions for glazing, retail continuity and sidewalk cafes, as well as restrictions on curb cuts , support an attractive and pedestrian-friendly shopping area. The district supports efficient building floor plates by eliminating the rear yard requirement for commercial and community facility uses on properties along Austin Street adjoining the LIRR. Additional bulk requirements ensure predictable building envelopes and provide a transition in building scale from lower-rise buildings on Austin Street to taller buildings along Queens Boulevard.
The Special Long Island City Mixed Use District (LIC) promotes the development and expansion, at varying densities, of the longstanding mix of residential, commercial, industrial and cultural uses found in its four subdistricts—Court Square, Queens Plaza, Hunters Point and Dutch Kills. Paired districts combine a manufacturing and a residential district, as in the Special Mixed Use District, and are mapped in the Queens Plaza, Hunters Point and Dutch Kills Subdistricts.
The Court Square and Queens Plaza Subdistricts comprise a 37-block area mapped for moderate- to high-density, 24-hour, pedestrian- and transit-oriented development. The highest density is allowed near subway stations in the Queens Plaza Subdistrict where special bulk provisions encourage tower development. Lower density, high lot coverage buildings are allowed elsewhere in the subdistrict and additional density can be achieved at the edges of the subdistrict through a floor area bonus for providing public open space and public parking. A floor area ratio of 15.0 is available for providing subway improvements in the Court Square Subdistrict if minimum lot and development thresholds are met. Scale, use, and density patterns are similar in the Dutch Kills and Hunters Point Subdistricts. Affordable housing in the Dutch Kills Subdistrict may be developed through the Inclusionary Housing designated areas Program.
The Special Mixed Use District (MX) was established in 1997 to encourage investment in, and enhance the vitality of, existing neighborhoods with mixed residential and industrial uses in close proximity and create expanded opportunities for new mixed use communities. New residential and non-residential uses (commercial, community facility and light industrial) can be developed as-of-right and be located side-by-side or within the same building. Pairing an M1 district with an R3 through R10 district (e.g. M1-2/R6) ensures a balanced variety of uses.
Residential uses are generally subject to the bulk controls of the governing residence district; commercial, industrial and community facility uses are subject to the M1 district bulk controls, except that community facilities are subject to residential FAR limits. Most light industrial uses are permitted in each MX district as-of-right, others are subject to restrictions and Use Group 18 uses are excluded altogether, except for small breweries.
Special Mixed Use Districts in Queens:
The purpose of the Special Natural Area District (NA) is to guide new development and site alterations in areas endowed with unique natural characteristics, including forests, rock outcrops, steep slopes, creeks and a variety of botanic and aquatic environments. In the four Special Natural Areas, the City Planning Commission reviews proposals for new development, enlargements and site alterations to maximize protection of natural features. Natural features are protected by limiting modifications in topography, by preserving tree, plant and marine life, and natural water courses, and by encouraging clustered development.
Special Natural Area Districts in Queens:
The Special Planned Community Preservation District (PC) designation protects the unique character of communities that have been planned and developed as a unit. Those communities characteristically have large landscaped open spaces and a superior relationship of buildings, open spaces, commercial uses, and pedestrian and vehicular circulation. No demolition, new development, enlargement or alteration of landscaping or topography is permitted within the district except by special permit of the City Planning Commission. Harlem River Houses is mapped as a Preservation districts.
The Special Southern Hunters Point District (SHP) seeks to transform an underutilized waterfront area into a higher-density mixed use development with residential and retail uses, community facilities, a public park and waterfront open space . Two subdistricts—the East River Subdistrict and the Newtown Creek Subdistrict—have special use, bulk, and height and setback provisions that produce a varied skyline, buildings with tapered tops, active, pedestrian-oriented ground floors and landscaped, publicly-accessible open space at key locations. New development is sited to highlight views of midtown Manhattan and the East River or Newtown Creek waterfronts. In the Newton Creek Subdistrict, the Inclusionary Housing designated areas Program provides incentives for affordable housing and another floor area bonus encourages the provision of a publicly-accessible private street and open area. The Newtown Creek Subdistrict has a Waterfront Access Plan (WAP) to ensure continuity with the new public park to be developed within the East River Subdistrict.
The Special Willets Point District (WP) is part of a comprehensive redevelopment strategy aimed at transforming a largely underutilized 61-acre site into a lively, mixed use, sustainable community and a regional retail and entertainment destination. The district is located to the east of Citi Field baseball stadium, and is near the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. District regulations ensure the achievement of the master plan for the site by specifying the location of uses, including retail, office, hotel and cinema uses, as well as a convention center. Site planning and design provisions specify maximum block dimensions, minimum street and sidewalk dimensions, building heights and setbacks, roof design requirements, and minimum amounts and locations of publicly accessible open space.