Each zoning classification has a floor-area ratio (FAR) number assigned to it. Many of the zones in Northeastern Queens have an FAR of .5.
This means essentially that if you have a 40 by 100-foot lot (4,000 square feet), you can build a house or building that contains an FAR of .5 or 2,000 square feet.
The highest FAR in New York City is 12. That applies to high rises in densely populated areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and western Queens.
Many in the real estate industry would like to see this cap eliminated, so that bulkier and taller buildings could be constructed. FARs would go above 12 if the cap is eliminated.
Many people object to this proposal. They feel that light and air will be further cut from existing low-density buildings that lie in those same areas. It would also lead to more congestion and stress the existing infrastructure in these areas.
Many people also feel that if the FAR cap gets raised above 12, then a precedent will be set and the city may try to raise the FAR in other zoning designations as well.
The supposed goal is to create more affordable housing. However, many experts believe that the so-called affordable housing would in large part still be unaffordable to most working-class families.
Eliminating or raising the FAR cap would only encourage overdevelopment and inappropriate development, and could eventually affect all areas of our city.
Please call your state senator and assembly person and tell them to vote against eliminating the cap on the floor-area ratio.
Raising the limit of the FAR cap would remove any limit on the size of residential buildings in zones with a current FAR of 12, and invite the possibility of higher FARs throughout the city.
Henry Euler is a resident of Bayside.