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Queens block 15534, lot 70

Information about this lot

Address: 20-06 NAMEOKE AVENUE, Queens, 11691
Area: 0.32 acres (14000 square feet)
Block and Lot: Queens, block 15534, lot 70
More information about this lot at OASIS

Political Boundaries

City Council District 31 represented by Donovan J. Richards
Community District Queens 14 ( cbrock14@nyc.rr.com / 718-471-7300 ), district manager: Jonathan L. Gaska
Find all elected officials for this lot at Who Represents Me? NYC

Government Agency

New York City Department of Sanitation (public)
Contact: Dan Klein (646-885-4845 / dklein@dsny.nyc.gov)

Pathways

Here are some pathways you might follow to use this piece of land legally:

News feed

Oct. 21, 2017, 11:36 a.m.
mara at 596 acres said

https://www.nycedc.com/press-release/de-blasio-administration-and-council-member-richards-announce-approval-downtown-far

The de Blasio Administration and Council Member Richards Announce Approval of the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project
September 07, 2017

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The de Blasio Administration and Council Member Donovan Richards today announced that the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project has been approved by the New York City Council, the final necessary vote of the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process.

This marks the de Blasio Administration’s second neighborhood rezoning to be approved by New York City Council, along with the East New York Neighborhood Plan.

The interagency project will revitalize Downtown Far Rockaway with the neighborhood’s first rezoning since 1961 and $288 million of investments to bring new commercial space and small business support, affordable housing options, open space, new connectivity to transit, improved infrastructure, and community facilities to the area.

“The de Blasio Administration is investing big in Downtown Far Rockaway. After hearing the community’s vision for their neighborhood, City agencies and local elected officials came together to deliver a transformative plan that’s going to drive economic opportunity, create affordable housing, unlock open space, improve infrastructure, and make Downtown Far Rockaway a better place to live,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “I want to thank Council Member Richards for his leadership in driving this historic investment forward, and to HPD, DCP, and all of our partner agencies who never wavered on their commitment to revitalize this neighborhood.”

“Today, we begin the journey of building on the progress we have made over the past four years, by infusing hundreds of millions of dollars into infrastructure, quality jobs, parks, streetscape, transit improvements, and both community facility and open space,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “These investments will ensure that Far Rockaway benefits from the amenities that so many other communities in our city enjoy. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio, EDC, HPD, DCP, Speaker Mark-Viverito, the Council Land Use staff and all of the other agencies involved in these negotiations.”

"What a great day to be a part of. I grew up in Far Rockaway, and I can tell you we’ve needed this kind of structural change to our zoning for the longest time. It’s also very much a team success. At the head of that team, Council Member Donovan Richards has taken a passionate, patient and inclusive approach to leadership, making real progress by inviting the whole community to the table. The Administration has given a gazillion presentations, taken the time to break everything down and incorporated our feedback, which we appreciate. And the folks who stood up and got involved – you made sure revitalization not only happened, but was sustainable, taking every contingency into account,” said Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato.

“This plan represents the promise of what we can achieve when we come together to ensure that our neighborhoods are vibrant places of opportunity for current and future residents. Working across agencies, in lockstep with the community, we’ve created a blueprint for the future of Downtown Far Rockaway as a dynamic hub for the region, with strategies to develop and safeguard affordable housing, protect tenants, improve infrastructure, and grow the local economy,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “I want to thank Councilmember Donovan Richards for his visionary leadership and my colleagues across city government for their commitment to ensuring Downtown Far Rockaway continues to thrive for generations to come."

“City Planning is pleased to be part of this multi-agency initiative, which was so ably spearheaded by Councilmember Donovan Richards. The initiative will bring much-needed affordable housing, economic development and city resources to a neighborhood that has suffered from disinvestment for many, many years. While the fortunes of this community have gone up and down over the decades, I’m confident that with the City Council’s approval, Downtown Far Rockaway will once again be on the rise,” said Marisa Lago, Chair of the City Planning Commission.

This comprehensive plan involves efforts from a range of City agencies, including the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC); Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD); Department of Transportation (DOT); Department of Small Business Services (SBS); Department of City Planning (DCP); Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR); Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA); and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Today’s approved plan was developed based on community recommendations and contain more than $288 million in Rockaway investments, including federal and private funding, with the City committing more than $126 million in new funding.

Highlights of Far Rockaway investments include:

Building a new park on the site of a vacant, City-owned lot.
Piloting a ferry service shuttle from Downtown Far Rockaway to the current NYC Ferry landing at Beach 108th Street.
Building a new Queens Public Library branch at the corner of Mott and Central Avenues.
Upgrading sewer infrastructure, expanding sidewalks, and creating new public plazas.
Making 100% of new housing built on public land affordable, and setting aside new units that could be created on the Urban Renewal Area for extremely low and very low income households.
Providing free legal services for Rockaway residents facing unlawful evictions and tenant harassment.
Supporting existing businesses through free legal services and other business outreach efforts.
Investing $10 million in upgrades to existing schools’ playgrounds, libraries, auditoriums, and science labs, and securing a portion of the Urban Renewal Area for the SCA to provide a new school if needed as the neighborhood grows.
Grants for cultural organizations and increased arts programing.
Installing real-time bus arrival displays at key bus stops.

“With this new park at Nameoke Avenue and improvements at Redfern and Bayswater, never before have our parks in this neighborhood seen such substantial influx of funding at one time,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, FAICP. “This funding will allow us to plan resilient and sustainable parks, public spaces, and recreational amenities and build parks for present and future generations.”

“The Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project will make significant investments in the Far Rockaway community, including its small businesses,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “This project will bring new commercial space and small business support to the area, and I am proud to back this plan. I congratulate Council Member Donovan Richards, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and all of the government and community partners for making this happen.”

“DOT is proud to be part of this multi-agency effort to improve infrastructure, transportation and quality of life in the Rockaways,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "From new plazas to new Select Bus Service, this great community should be seeing positive transportation changes as soon as this year -- and then for years to come. Congratulations to Council Member Richards for his leadership on this project."

“DEP is proud to support Council Member Richards and the redevelopment of Downtown Far Rockaway,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “We will work to improve the infrastructure that will support so many other important quality of life improvements for the neighborhood.”

“Far Rockaway is home to a creative community as vibrant as the neighborhood itself, and we’re proud to work with partner agencies, area leaders, and residents to expand support for cultural programming that engages locals and attracts visitors,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl.

“The board is excited that this project has the potential to revitalize the downtown Far Rockaway area. We believe over the next 5-10 years exciting things will happen,” said Jonathan Gaska, District Manager, Queens Community Board 14.

“The Downtown Far Rockaway Development Plan represents a major shift from previous administrations' lack of capital investment in areas such as Far Rockaway. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, the City Council, the Downtown Far Rockaway Working Group and our community champion, City Councilman Donovan Richards, Jr. for having the fortitude to support this community-driven plan that truly reflects the majority of community stakeholders who participated in the year-long planning process. It seems only equitable that those who have voiced their pleas for revitalizing Downtown Far Rockaway for so many decades should be the voices that we listen to the loudest - in my opinion the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Plan got it right,” said Kevin Alexander, RDRC President & CEO.

“The JCCRP believes the Rockaway Redevelopment project will transform our downtown area and will provide safe residential housing for all while opening up opportunities for small businesses to flourish. The planned expansion of our transportation infrastructure will ease the burden for hundreds of commuters who live in Far Rockaway,” said Moshe Brandsdorfer, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula (JCCRP).

“This vital redevelopment will bring enormous resources to the Rockaways and St. John's is proud to work in collaboration with Councilmember Donovan Richards, NYCEDC and the Far Rockaway community to ensure a successful completion,” said Gerard M. Walsh, CEO, St. John's Episcopal Hospital.

“Our library in Far Rockaway is a vital part of the community and inspires individuals to learn, discover and grow,” said Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio and the City of New York for the opportunity to contribute to the revitalization this rezoning will bring to Far Rockaway.”

The Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project was developed based on the vision of the Downtown Far Rockaway Working Group —a team of local stakeholders convened by Councilman Donovan Richards in 2015—to develop a set of goals and recommendations to support the revitalization of the neighborhood.

The Downtown Far Rockaway Working Group received input from over one hundred community members and delivered their recommendations to Mayor de Blasio in February 2016, asking that the City activate long-vacant sites, increase access to housing and retail opportunities in the neighborhood, and help the area realize its potential as the commercial hub of the peninsula.

About NYCEDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.


my emphasis added. WOW!

Oct. 21, 2017, 11:30 a.m.
mara at 596 acres uploaded
THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK RESOLUTION NO. 1655 -- in which this lot stays public! "Pursuant to Sections 197-d and 200 of the City Charter and on the basis of the Decision and Application, and based on the environmental determination and consideration described in the report, C 170248 PPQ, incorporated by reference herein, the Council approves the Decision with a modification to remove Block 15534, Lot 70 from the Disposition Area and approve the disposition of Block 15705, Lots 59 and 69." Winning!
Aug. 25, 2017, 11:14 a.m.
paula uploaded
The City Council Land Use Committee Requested that this Lot be Removed from the Legislation that Would Have Allowed its Sale to a Private Developer Click to see the letter. The land will remain public! Now its time for the real work of planning for its future.
Aug. 25, 2017, 8:51 a.m.
paula said

Council Member Richards doesn't need to vote no necessarily. He needs to make sure that this lot is removed from the language of the bill.

His committee has submitted a modification to the bill language, but we haven't seen it yet to be able to check.

We need to see a copy of the modification. I am trying to get it from Department of City Planning but they are slow. Call his office and ask for it?

Aug. 25, 2017, 6:55 a.m.
t.andersoncap said

I called yesterday in the afternoon and it went to voice mail. I left a voi=
ce mail stating that Councilman Richards vote No on the ULURP??

Aug. 22, 2017, 12:56 p.m.
Paula Segal said

The City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises approved the bill (LU 0726-2017) that includes the disposition of this lot to a private developer with a modification yesterday but the modification does not appear here yet: http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3106833&GUID=4EC4896B-D872-4034-B750-0545802F580A&Options=&Search= .

The Land Use Committee should be voting on the bill today and the full council will vote on September 7, according to an article in the Commercial Observer:
https://commercialobserver.com/2017/08/far-rockaway-rezoning-clears-key-city-council-subcommittee/

The City Planning Commission should have the modification text to C 170248 PPQ. You can check with them by emailing James Merani, JMERANI@planning.nyc.gov, at the Department of City Planning.

You can also call Council Member Richards office for details on the modification. I hope that the recommendation is that the bill be modified to take this lot out of it, but I don't know if that's what happened.

Aug. 11, 2017, 12:49 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

City Council will vote whether to approve the disposition of this cityowned lot on Thursday, August 24. I found this out when I called the legislative office of Councilmember Donovan Richards yesterday. I explained that the disposition of this lot is specifically ULURP # 170248. The person I spoke with knew exactly which lot I was talking about ;).

If you want to follow up ahead of the date to check that the council member is clear on which exact land use action to vote No on (ULURP #170248), the number is 212-788-7216.

Onwards!

Aug. 1, 2017, 6:55 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

Here's the video from the 7/27/17 City Council's ULURP hearing (hosted the Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee of the Land Use Committee) on the proposal to sell this lot! Allison's testimony starts at 4:40:20. After she advocates for this lot to be kept public and transferred from the Department of Sanitation to NYC Parks so the community can plan for the future green space here together, Council Donovan Richards assures her that Downtown Far Rockaway's rezoning will not move forward without that happening! Watch it at http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Video.aspx?Mode=Auto&URL=aHR0cDovL2NvdW5jaWxueWMudmllYml0LmNvbS9mbGFzaC9tZWRpYV9wbGF5ZXJfNzk4Yy5zd2Y%2Fc2VydmVyPW55Yy1ydG1wLnBlZ2NlbnRyYWwuY29tJmFjY291bnQ9Y291bmNpbG55YyZ2aWRlb0ZpbGVuYW1lPU5ZQ0MtUFYtQ0gtQ0hBXzE3MDcyNy0xMDA3MDIubXA0&Mode2=Video#.WYEDrpGBA-4.email

Now let's follow up with the Council Member to see if we can support this transfer to NYC Parks happening ASAP! Thanks for protecting community access to our land. Onwards!

July 27, 2017, 3:06 p.m.
Mara at 596 acres posted
The lot will stay public!
The lot will stay public! Allison and I, happy at the ULURP hearing at city hall: Council Member Richards shared that the downtown far rockaway plan will NOT pass with the disposition of this lot included! Community advocates testifying before and after us have concurred with our requests and thanked him for transferring it to NYC Parks. Then the community can work together in partnership w the city to plan for a future open space that meets All The Needs and Dreams, like food growing, children's play space and more, together. Onwards!!!!!
July 17, 2017, 2:26 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

Council Member Richards can initiate the process of having this lot transferred to NYC Parks at the request of his constituents! Contact his office at (718) 471-7014 and ask that he request NYCEDC lift its hold and transfer jurisdiction of Queens block 15534 lot 70, the long-abandoned Department of Sanitation lot, to NYC Parks ASAP.

July 11, 2017, 3:43 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

"Before casting her vote, Commissioner Ana Levin said she would have preferred if the commission were not voting on one particular land use action encompassed within the rezoning proposal: the disposal of a lot owned by the Department of Sanitation to a private developer.
“I think we heard compelling testimony from many folks in the community about the importance of keeping the sanitation site in city-ownership until appropriate use for that site is determined,” she said, referring to the calls of community activists to use that site for an urban farm and community garden rather than housing.

On June 28, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which is spearheading the rezoning, wrote in a letter to the City Planning Commission that “Prior to any disposition of the site, [EDC] will meet with community members and stakeholders to gather feedback about what uses are desired.”

EDC, in another document, says that it will “inventory City-owned property within Downtown Far Rockaway as well as throughout the peninsula that would be suitable sites for community farming or gardening.”

That document, the Final Environmental Impact Statement(FEIS), was released on June 29 and provides a window into how EDC’s rezoning proposal has changed—or not changed—as a result of community feedback over the past few months. EDC has pleased the community board by adding buildings height limits on certain streets and adding new design requirements, but, to the board’s frustration, has also expanded the rezoning to two more development sites that will result in a net increase in apartments generated by the rezoning."

http://citylimits.org/2017/07/10/far-rockaway-rezoning-sails-through-city-planning-commission/

June 13, 2017, 7:39 p.m.
Paula + Travis said

We are at the community board meeting - the last one before summer break! Join us now at Knights of Columbus Hall (333 Beach 90 Street) to show support for transforming this lot!

June 12, 2017, 4:20 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

Far Rock Garden organizers will be planning together with Community Board 14 at their meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, June 13 at 7:15pm, Knights of Columbus Hall (333 Beach 90 Street). Onwards!

May 31, 2017, 12:05 a.m.
mara at 596 acres said

travis' testimony to the City Planning Commission on 170246 PPQ, submitted online:

My name is Travis Anderson and I have lived in Far Rockaway my whole life of 25 years. For the last 4 years I have pursued the Agricultural Field and have found myself completely engrossed in the information and simplicity of Agriculture. Having the Lot on Nameoke Ave and Augustina Ave become a fun,productive and educational green space for the local residents would greatly serve every generation in Downtown Far Rockaway.

We the People refers to a group of Community members in Downtown Far Rockaway opposing ULURP #170248PPQ (disposal of Queens Block 15534 Lot 70 within ULURP C 170245 HGQ). We have gathered 300+ paper and online signatures also supporting this effort.

We the People want this lot to remain public and green and for ownership to be transferred from NYC Sanitation to NYC Parks so that it may be used as a community playground, garden and compost. We the people have written a document proposal describing such use and plan to submit to Green Thumb, if presented with the opportunity.

Far Rockaway is a federally designated food dessert with 43% poverty and a high heart disease rate. There are no supermarkets with fresh or organic offerings; instead Downtown Far Rockaway is inundated with Bravos, Compare Foods, Keyfood, Food Dynasty and C-Town which all offer lackluster and sometimes expired food products, while other, more affluent nearby neighborhoods, such as Arverne by the Sea, and Inwood and Cedahurst, Long Island, benefit from stores such as Stop and Shop, Trader Joe's and Foodtown. This neighborhood also suffers from scores of fast food establishments.

Community members want a safe space where they can collaborate, learn and grow their own healthy foods in order to combat several disparities that are clearly tied to an area with several low socioeconomic indicators.

We ask that the committee vote no on Item 22 - ULURP #170248PPQ. We ask that the committee instead have this publicly owned land be protected from future harm by those wanting to make it private, namely the Economic Development Committee. The proposed revitalization of Downtown Far Rockaway needs amending so that disenfranchised people are not further neglected or alienated through promulgation of a project that will result in the loss of 11 acres of green land.

Thank you for your continued support.

May 29, 2017, 8:48 p.m.
mara said

allison's testimony to the CPC on 170248 PPQ:

My name is Allison Jeffrey and I and my parents and sisters have lived in Far Rockaway for the past 30 years.

We the People refers to a group of Community members in Downtown Far Rockaway opposing ULURP #170248PPQ (disposal of Queens Block 15534 Lot 70 within ULURP C 170245 HGQ). We have gathered 300+ paper and online signatures also supporting this effort.

We the People want this lot to remain public and green and for ownership to be transferred from NYC Sanitation to NYC Parks so that it may be used as a community playground, garden and compost. We the people have written a document proposal describing such use and plan to submit to Green Thumb, if presented with the opportunity.

Far Rockaway is a federally designated food dessert with 43% poverty and a high heart disease rate. There are no supermarkets with fresh or organic offerings; instead Downtown Far Rockaway is inundated with Bravos, Compare Foods, Keyfood, Food Dynasty and C-Town which all offer lackluster and sometimes expired food products, while other, more affluent nearby neighborhoods, such as Arverne by the Sea, and Inwood and Cedahurst, Long Island, benefit from stores such as Stop and Shop, Trader Joe's and Foodtown. This neighborhood also suffers from scores of fast food establishments.

Community members want a safe space where they can collaborate, learn and grow their own healthy foods in order to combat several disparities that are clearly tied to an area with several low socioeconomic indicators.

We ask that the committee vote no on Item 22 - ULURP #170248PPQ. We ask that the committee instead have this publicly owned land be protected from future harm by those wanting to make it private, namely the Economic Development Committee. The proposed revitalization of Downtown Far Rockaway needs amending so that disenfranchised people are not further neglected or alienated through promulgation of a project that will result in the loss of 11 acres of green land.

Thank you for your continued support.

Regards,
Allison F. Jeffrey
Downtown Far Rockaway Community Member

May 29, 2017, 4:40 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

allison's testimony from last wednesday's CPC hearing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTSuygx9EJQ&feature=youtu.be&t=5430

two more against 170248 PPQ which calls for the disposition of this lot so that it can become far rock garden are in this video too!

May 28, 2017, 12:49 p.m.
mara at 596 acres uploaded
Mara from 596 Acres' testimony for City Planning Commission on ULURP 170248 PPQ, the disposition of this lot Just uploaded this, and copy and pasted the text, to the City Planning Commission's onlne comment form at https://a002-irm.nyc.gov/EventRegistration/RegForm.aspx?eventGuid=fa206f3d-6400-4a95-8b39-87b1bfa975ef. Please do the same! Pick project "C 170245 HGQ" from the drop down list EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT the ULURP we are actually commenting on, and be sure to include in your testimony that you are AGAINST land use application **C 170248 PPQ specifically**.
May 26, 2017, 4:13 p.m.
Allison F. Jeffrey said

TEAM WORK DOES MAKE THE DREAM WORK!

May 25, 2017, 4:20 p.m.
Alexis Smallwood said

Thank you Father God!

May 25, 2017, 4:13 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

Irving Poy IPOY@queensbp.org
4:11 PM (0 minutes ago)

to Mara
Mara,

Please no need to be so formal.

Yes, the Borough President’s recommendation for approval of all six related applications carry the same conditions.

The Borough President has endorsed CB 14’s position that the former DSNY site is reused as park or playground.

Irving

From: Mara Dawn Kravitz, 596 Acres [mailto:mara@596acres.org]
Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2017 3:34 PM
To: Irving Poy IPOY@queensbp.org
Cc: 596 Acres Community Land Access Program organizers@596acres.org; Allison Jeffrey Afionaj@gmail.com; Travis Anderson t.andersoncap@gmail.com

Subject: Re: Far Rock Garden and ULURP #170248 PPQ at this Thursday's Land Use Hearing

Thank you Mr. Poy!

Did the Queens Borough President make just one blanket recommendation for all six ULURPs that are part of the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project? ULURP #170248 PPQ calls for the disposition of a DSNY lot at Nameoke and Augustina Avenues. In the document you just shared, BP Katz's recommendation for this lot echoes the community board: "Location of a park or playground on a former Department of Sanitation site instead of disposing of it as proposed." Did BP Katz "recommend approval" of that particular application too? With the "condition" being that the proposed action actually not take place?

Thank you,

Mara Dawn Kravitz
Director of Partnerships
596 Acres, Inc.
540 President St #2E
Gowanus, Brooklyn NY 11215
mara@596acres.org
718-316-6092 ex 3

May 25, 2017, 3:41 p.m.
mara at 596 acres posted
Here's Queens CB14's recommendations on the ULURP application to sell this public lot: DON'T!
Here's Queens CB14's recommendations on the ULURP application to sell this public lot: DON'T!
May 25, 2017, 3:32 p.m.
mara at 596 acres posted
Queens BP recommendations on the ULURP for the disposition of this lot
Queens BP recommendations on the ULURP for the disposition of this lot Irving Poy, Director of Planning and Development at Queens BP office, said this is from "the lead recommendation. The others are essentially the same with the difference being the land use issue/subject on each recommendation." This suggests that the Queens Borough President also made just one blanket recommendation for all six ULURPs that are part of the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project, even though each will lead to a different thing happening in Downtown Far Rockaway! -__- Still great that both CB14 and the Queens BP support the city KEEPING this land so the community can create a public open space!
May 24, 2017, 4:12 a.m.
Alexis Smallwood said

Team work makes the dream work!

God Bless Far Rockaway

May 23, 2017, 1:26 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

See you tomorrow morning at the City Planning Commission's ULURP hearing on the disposition of this lot! Advocates will be there again to testify against it and in favor of a public green space, instead. Tomorrow morning, Wednesday May 24 at 10am at Spector Hall, 22 Reade Street in Lower Manhattan. 

The CPC is also accepting written comments up to a week before their vote, scheduled at the end of their review period (7/10/17), via this form: https://a002-irm.nyc.gov/EventRegistration/RegForm.aspx?eventGuid=fa206f3d-6400-4a95-8b39-87b1bfa975ef.

Strangely, ULURP 170248PPQ is NOT actually one you can select from their drop-down menu! We can point that out to CPC tomorrow. In the meantime, we can encourage everyone against the disposition of this lot and in favor of a public green space instead to prepare up to 500 words to submit via this form. People can also include a 5MB PDF or WORD file.

Onwards!

May 2, 2017, 12:20 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

http://citylimits.org/2017/04/28/late-addition-to-rockaway-plan-stirs-concerns-at-queens-bp-hearing/

Late Addition to Rockaway Plan Stirs Concerns at Queens BP Hearing
By Abigail Savitch-Lew | April 28, 2017

The Economic Development Corporation’s proposed rezoning for Downtown Far Rockaway is making its way through the seven-month public review process known as ULURP. In March, Community board 14 approved the rezoning with a host of conditions, from lower densities to the creation of a new school, and sent it to Borough President Melinda Katz for review.

At a hearing on Thursday, Katz indicated support for the overall objectives of the plan, calling the planning partners “wonderful agencies” and noting she understood the “importance” of the project, but she said she wanted to explore the density issues raised by the community board and was disturbed by a point of process she found unusual: At eight o’clock the night before her hearing, she said, the de Blasio administration had announced changes to the rezoning.

“I don’t recall this ever happening before,” she said. “I just want somebody to explain to me the technicality of this and how this happens.”

The changes were made through an “A-Application”—an amendment to the rezoning proposal, which is permitted so long as changes occur ahead of the City Planning Commission hearing on the Environmental Impact Statement, according to John Young of the Department of City Planning.

City representatives explained that they were slightly expanding the borders of the rezoning area after hearing about two sites that property owners wanted to develop with an upzoning. The city is also preserving a commercial overlay that the original proposal was slated to remove.

The city also made adjustments to respond to community concerns about height, such as by adding new building height limits along Mott Ave, Nameoke Street and Redfern Avenue. The amendments also introduce rules to allow flexibility that will improve the design of the developments, the city says. In one place, a revision will reduce the required amount of publicly accessible open space.

Altogether, the changes are expected to result in the addition of 96 units of housing and almost 12,000 square feet of retail, as well as a loss of almost 6,000 square feet of open space (though one of the owners on the newly added sites has suggested he might voluntarily provide more than 6,000 square feet of open space). According to the EDC’s environmental analysis, the proposal will not result in any additional environmental impacts, but as the original proposal already had a significant adverse impact on open space, the amendment will likely raise some hairs. There will be an opportunity for the community board to make comments on the changes, but not to vote again.

Katz noted that the community board had already called for fewer housing units.

“You’ve got to figure out where to take it from, guys,” she said, recommending the city find a way to reduce density in another part of the proposal.

Devaney Brown, representing Councilmember Donovan Richards, and Assembly member Stacy Amato offered conditioned support for the proposal and an interest in seeing the community board’s priorities addressed. Brown raised concerns about building heights, school seats and open space, while Amato mentioned schools, parking, traffic, and how the city would ensure a diversity of retail establishments.

“When you do something at eight o’clock at night, you just kicked confidence out of the conversation,” she added.

Several residents in the audience expressed greater consternation in their testimonies.

“My fear is that the plan is going to…basically leave my community just like Harlem…very gentrified and very exclusive feeling,” said resident Alexis Smallwood, who said she used to live in Harlem and no longer feels welcome there. She called for the use of a community land trust to ensure continued affordability, and for a reduction in new buildings, which, in addition to causing gentrification, she said would change the character of the community.

She was also one of four residents who testified against the city’s proposal to give a vacant lot owned by the Department of Sanitation to a developer for the creation of eight units of below-market housing. The group said they have collected 400 petitions in favor of a proposal to turn the land over to the Parks Department for the creation of a community garden, compost space, and play space for children. They said their proposal jives with the community board’s vision of using the space as a playground or park.

“The community needs an opportunity to grow their own food. A green space would allow community members to come together to do this so they can change the course of their health. It’s a dire need,” said resident Allison Jeffrey.

Another group of four residents—one from Far Rockaway, and the other three from low-rise neighborhoods farther west on the island—expressed opposition to the rezoning on the grounds that the area doesn’t need any more housing density. They presented their own power point presentation, “The Far Rockaway Village: Destruction of a Town.”

“People said we need parking, we need better access to downtown. Nobody said we need housing,” said Eugene Falik, the Far Rockaway resident. He said that the city did not have a sufficient plan to meet other goal of the plan like revitalizing commerce or improving transportation, and that the additional housing would exacerbate the area’s lack of parking. With Rita Stark, owner of the long-abandoned shopping center in the area, now deceased and her estate showing a willingness to fix it up, he also questioned the necessity of the city getting permission to take the area by eminent domain (the city says it need all the tools in its toolbox to revitalize the site).

Fellow presenter Phyllis Rudnick put it in financial terms: “If I have to sell my house, what could I possibly say to a buyer?” she said.

Support for the plan came from the Queens Chamber of Commerce and Eiden Consulting, a firm specialized in energy-efficient design and urban renewal, both of which heralded the opportunities for revitalization. A representative from the property workers union 32BJ also supported the plan and asked for commitments that new buildings pay prevailing wage.

EDC representatives said they were continuing to engage with the community board and had committed to the creation of a community advisory group to monitor development going forward. They said they had spoken to the garden advocates and were “hopeful that we can find a way to accommodate some of the community’s needs” on the vacant Department of Sanitation site. While they chose to defend their plan for parking, they noted they were working with the MTA to find mitigations to impacts on transit, potentially by adding another bus. And they said their plan would contribute to commercial revitalization because that they had special control over the retail offerings in the Urban Renewal Area portion of the project. On prior occasions, the city has said that residential density is necessary to support commercial growth.

Smallwood’s concerns about the potential gentrification of the area were not discussed. It is yet undetermined how much of the new housing will be rent-restricted, but the community board has asked that 60 percent be below-market, while EDC’s figures appear to indicate that slightly less than half the housing will be.

A City Planning Commission hearing on the proposal is expected to take place on May 24. Stay tuned for more details.

--
NICE advocates!!!!

April 28, 2017, 5:21 p.m.
Mara at 596 acres posted
Testifying at the Borough President ULURP Hearing
Testifying at the Borough President ULURP Hearing Onwards!
April 21, 2017, 12:32 a.m.
mara at 596 acres said

The disposition of the Nameoke and Augustina lot to housing developers is on the agenda for the Queens Borough President Land Use Public Hearing next Thursday, April 27 at 10:30am at 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens!

It's ULURP #170248 PPQ in https://a856-cityrecord.nyc.gov/RequestDetail/20170418104

Everyone who supports the idea of this future garden should show up! This is a great opportunity to get the Borough President on your side. Let's send Director of Planning & Development your proposal now: IPoy@queensbp.org -- and show up to speak on the 27th with all the other stewards and garden supporters! It would be huge if we could influence her to vote against the disposition of this lot so ya'll can grow! You can call (718) 286-2860 and ask to get on the list to speak at the hearing.

Onwards!

April 16, 2017, 9:42 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

Here's an email I sent on April 4:
Jonathan and Steve,

Paula submitted a FOIL request for documents pertaining to the lot at Augustina and Nameoke (Queens Block 15534, Lot 70; https://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/4155340070/) and we found these letters, attached. They reveal that NYCEDC was already making moves to dispose of this public property in January, without public input. Did you know about this?

As you know, Allison, Travis and other Far Rockaway residents, CC'd, have been organizing to transform this long vacant lot into a community farm and compost site since September 2016. They have been in touch with the Department of Sanitation about it for months. DOS did not mention NYCEDC's plans. It seems unlikely they knew about them.

As you also know, there is a predicted deficit of 11 acres of open space according to the Draft EIS for the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project. The city is planning to sell this site to a private developer to create 8 dwelling units.

I know CB 14 voted yes on all six ULURPs that comprise the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project together last week. But the disposition of this lot is still going through ULURP (ULURP #170248-PPQ).

I wanted to bring this information to your attention.

Thank you,


Here's the City's website for seeing where the in the ULURP process we are for the disposition of this lot, ULURP # C 170248 PPQ : http://a030-lucats.nyc.gov/lucats/MilestoneULURP.aspx?ULURPall=C%20170248%20PPQ&ULURPonly=170248&CEQRno=16DME010Q

Here's how ULURP works for private development and rezoning: http://welcometocup.org/file_columns/0000/0956/cup-ulurp-diagram_tabloid.pdf (this fits) & here is a guide to all the different players involved: http://welcometocup.org/file_columns/0000/0957/cup-ulurp-whoswho.pdf

--

There are lots of opportunities for public advocacy through this process where the city can change course on its plan to sell this lot -- in favor of your alternative, community-based development plan for far rock garden! Proposal for that plan here: https://livinglotsnyc.org/media/files/Final_Draft_-_Far_Rock_Garden_GreenThumb_Proposal_without_contact_info_b7i5p8P.pdf.

Let's get the plan before the community board and see if they will support it, AND get the Borough President to recommend via ULURP that the city NOT sell this lot and instead keep it so this community-based development plan can become real instead.

Onwards!

April 16, 2017, 8:45 p.m.
mara at 596 acres uploaded
a complete proposal for the far rock garden! (with gardeners' contact information removed) it includes: - a description of the garden: name, mission, vision, description, a drawing of how the land will be used - greenthumb registration forms - allison's City Limits editorial - 250+ petition signatures in favor of the garden - on paper and via change.org - letters of support from NY Mechanical Gardens + Green Map Systems Awesome. Onwards!
March 30, 2017, 10:51 a.m.
mara at 596 acres said

At last night's hearing at Queens Community Board 14, Travis and Allison's father "asked that a public lot in the rezoning area not be sold to a developer but retained by the city for a community garden and compost site."

From press coverage here! http://citylimits.org/2017/03/30/queens-board-approves-rockaway-rezoning-with-significant-conditions/

The Board was voting on six separate Uniform Land Use Review Processes (ULURPs) that comprise NYCEDC's plan for downtown Far Rockaway. ULURP 170248-PPQ is the disposition of city owned properties. See each of the ULURP actions listed in last night's agenda - photo here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BSPipcshLHH/.

The Board voted on all six of the ULURP actions together. They voted to approve them with significant conditions.

Allison is meeting with Eleni of NYC EDC today. Onwards!

March 8, 2017, 8:16 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

allison's editorial is in here! http://citylimits.org/2017/02/27/print-your-copy-of-our-rockaway-rezoning-newsletter/

Feb. 24, 2017, 1:01 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

NEXT THURSDAY: Come to the next planning meeting for the proposed community garden at 20-06 Nameoke Avenue at Augustina!

All are welcome to join us as we work towards transforming this long vacant lot into a beautiful and productive green space. Creating this garden will help eliminate food deserts and increase available fresh produce in the Far Rockaway community.

Next Thursday, March 2nd from 6:30-8:00pm
Far Rockaway Library
1637 Central Avenue

Please bring your ideas and input to help bring this vision to life.

To RSVP for the meeting, please contact Allison at afionaj@gmail.com or post right on the lot page!

Thank you for your past support and we hope to see you next Thursday.

Feb. 22, 2017, 6:01 p.m.
Alexis Smallwood said

This land needs to be sold to Cooper Union Square for affordable housing. Mara can we add this site too, one of the proposals for a CLT for HPD.

Feb. 22, 2017, 5:38 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

"In the future with the Proposed Actions, the vacant City-owned parcel currently under the jurisdiction of DSNY—located at the corner of Augustina and Nameoke Avenues (Block 15534, Lot 70)—would be redeveloped as–of-right with four, approximately three-story (35-foot-tall), residential buildings that would include a total of 8 DUs, all of which would be affordable (8,000 gsf)." (pg. S-15)

"The Disposition Sites would be disposed of by sale or lease for redevelopment with housing, community facility space, commercial space and/or retail space" (pg. S-3).

This is from the Executive Summary of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project that was completed on January 27, 2017 & is posted in sections here: https://www.nycedc.com/Downtown-Far-Rockaway-Environmental-Review

Feb. 22, 2017, 5:21 p.m.
Alexis Smallwood said

Please keep me posted about the Block, lot. We need to research and see if it fell under the new rezoning codes.

Feb. 22, 2017, 5:10 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

Just last week, Travis and Allison were working towards a contract with The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to make the lot a community composting site in partnership with the NYC Composting Project at the Queens Botanical Garden. In a unexpected twist, staff at DSNY said that, as of last week, the lot no longer is under DSNY's jurisdiction.

Next organizing meeting soon!!

Nov. 29, 2016, 8:44 p.m.
Mara at 596 Acres uploaded
Template that local organizations and businesses can use to write letters in support of a community space on this lot Great meeting today! We made progress on the GreenThumb proposal and planned some next steps. Stay tuned!
Nov. 29, 2016, 1:49 p.m.
Mara at 596 Acres said

Rockaway! We will meet this afternoon at 4pm at 1328 Augustina Ave to plan for the future of this lot. See ya there!

Oct. 28, 2016, 8:50 a.m.
Alexis Smallwood said

Community Land Trust!

Oct. 26, 2016, 12:20 p.m.
Mara at 596 Acres said

Paula will be meeting with Eleni Bourinaris of the NYC Economic Development Corporation to discuss this lot serving the public THIS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28 at 4pm near Lincoln Center in Manhattan (W 60th Street). Apologies for the Manhattan location. Please let us know by posting here, or contacting me at mara@596acres.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3 if you would like to join!

Oct. 3, 2016, 11:18 p.m.
paula at 596 acres uploaded
Over 150 signatures in support of keeping this lot public and for community use! Submitted to the Mayor's Office of Sustainability by the comment deadline for the Draft of the Downtown Rockaway plan of 5pm today. Another 100+ comments were submitted via the online petition here: https://www.change.org/p/esther-brunner-downtown-far-rockaway-wants-to-keep-its-public-space-green Next step is developing a proposal for the community use of this space as a garden permanently preserved in the NYC Parks Department GreenThumb program. Stay tuned for the announcement of a meeting...
Sept. 29, 2016, 12:17 a.m.
Mara, 596 Acres posted
Banner making on Monday
Banner making on Monday
Sept. 29, 2016, 12:17 a.m.
Mara, 596 Acres posted
The lot on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016
The lot on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016
Sept. 29, 2016, 12:04 a.m.
Mara, 596 Acres posted
The lot on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016
The lot on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016
Sept. 26, 2016, 7:49 p.m.
Travis posted
A draft plan!
A draft plan!
Sept. 26, 2016, 7:40 p.m.
Mara, 596 Acres said

We are at the local library and we just cooked this up for the proposal:

Mission Statement: Far Rock Garden is a thriving urban garden, compost site and welcoming community space. The site will be a community garden where residents grow healthy produce in raised beds together. It will host an affordable farmers’ market in partnership with GrowNYC’s Fresh Food Box Program. Gardeners will also harvest rainwater to water crops (in addition to using the fire hydrant). A local Master Composter, graduate of the Queens Botanical Gardens’ NYC Compost Project program, will help neighbors transform food scraps into a sustainable, nutrient-rich growing medium for the gardeners using 3-bin and Windrow systems. Community members will host workshops on environmental stewardship for neighbors and youth on topics including gardening, cooking, rainwater catchment, composting and more. We will promote healthy eating and sustainable practices that will benefit the neighborhood, as well as a green, safe space where neighborhood children can play and learn.

Identifying the Need: This garden will help eliminate the food deserts currently in the Far Rockaway community. All local supermarkets and Delicatessens (Delis) provide substandard offerings of produce and food to the people in this community from the lower Beaches to Beach 60. The closest supermarket with average to above average produce is located at Beach 70, 3 miles from the core Mott Ave and Central Ave. area; while the next closest supermarket is located in Inwood, NY, 1.2 miles away from this same intersection. Currently there are several supermarkets with substandard offerings: Bravo Supermarkets, Compare Foods, Food Dynasty, Keyfood, and other smaller, privately-owned supermarkets. Currently the following is available for food alternatives: multiple Popeye's, McDonald's, multiple Dunkin Donuts, Checkers, an abundance of Chinese Food establishments, Golden Krust, KFC, Little Ceasars; all while the single and closest farm is located at Beach 45. In light of the current gentrification efforts currently in place in the Far Rockaway community, we are organizing to save land for the People's health and wellness.


Travis is drawing the garden plan while Allison, Alendi and Richie are painting the banners for the lot's fence!

Sept. 26, 2016, 2:45 p.m.
Green Map System uploaded
Letter Asking for this Lot to Be Kept Public Land
Sept. 26, 2016, 12:37 p.m.
New York Mechanical Gardens uploaded
Letter in support of 596 Acres Request to Have this Lot Kept Public
Sept. 25, 2016, 11:07 p.m.
Allison Jeffrey said

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION and SHARE!!

https://www.change.org/p/ebrunner-cityhall-nyc-gov-green-space?recruiter=15101777&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

Sept. 23, 2016, 5:40 p.m.
Alexis Smallwood uploaded
Letter from Rockaway Wildfire Asking City to Save Public Land in Downtown Far Rockaway Please help save this lot in Far Rockaway!
Sept. 22, 2016, 9:50 a.m.
paula at 596 acres said

To tell the City not to plan to give this land away, send an email to ebrunner@cityhall.nyc.gov by 5pm on October 3. You can base your comments on the below:

Re: Comment on Downtown Rockaway Redevelopment Plan (CEQR NO. 16DME010Q) Draft Scope of Work for EIS – Remove the disposition of Queens block 15534, lot 70

Ms. Brunner,

I am writing to request that Queens block 15534, lot 70 be removed from the Downtown Rockaway Redevelopment Plan prior to determining the final scope of work for the Environmental Impact Study. The Draft Plan, on page 15, describes its lease or sale to a private developer for "new as-of-right residential uses pursuant to existing R3X zoning." R3X zoning allows for the construction of single and two-family detached homes. The current zoning would allow approximately 8-10 apartments to be built here. The architects rendering in the draft do not include the new buildings on this site. The inclusion and disposition of this City-owned lot are both inconsistent with the strategy of the Redevelopment Plan. The lot is outside the targeted area and the development proposed for this site does not fit with the proposed building envelope.
More importantly: this land is public land. There is no reason at all for the City to transfer it to a private developer to create 10 new suburban-style market-rate housing units. A lot more people will benefit if the City keeps the site and allows it to be developed for public use by resident leaders.
The parcel should be a key asset in what will become a dense neighborhood as planned. It can be transferred to the NYC Parks Department for use as a GreenThumb garden or for the creation of a new Downtown Rockaway Park or Playground. It can be respite for young and old alike, as well as host to community composting, food production, farm markets, pop up libraries, science classes and many other overlapping community-enriching activities. None of them will be possible if we give away this precious public land. 596 Acres has facilitated the transformation of over three dozen vacant lots like this into community stewarded open spaces throughout the five boroughs. These oases provide key social infrastructure for the development of resilient communities as people get to know their neighbors share skills and build strengths. They also grow healthy food, teach science to schoolkids, divert water from our over-burdened sewers, remove tons of waste from landfill by redirecting organics into soil production via composting and provide space for cultural activities.
This comment is not a proposal for how the lot should be used. But if this lot’s transfer to a private developer is approved, the community will not get the opportunity to determine the best possible use of this public asset.
I urge you to remove the disposition of Queens block 15534, lot 70 from the Draft Scope of Scope of work for the Downtown Rockaway Redevelopment Plan so that the redevelopment of the vacant private properties in the area can proceed in parallel with community planning for the transformation of this public lot into a resource.
My organization, 596 Acres, and residents of Downtown Rockaway stand ready to facilitate a productive use of the public land at Queens block 15534, lot 70.
Thank you so much for your consideration.
Sincerely,

Paula Z. Segal, Esq.
Director, NYC Community Land Access Program

Sept. 22, 2016, 9:41 a.m.
paula uploaded
Draft Scope of Work See page 15 for this lot!
Sept. 21, 2016, 9:54 a.m.
paula at 596 acres uploaded
Flier handed out by organizers at the Scoping Hearing yesterday
Sept. 20, 2016, 11:12 p.m.
Paula posted
Sept. 19, 2016, 4:04 p.m.
paula at 596 acres posted
Rockaway! Plan to come make your voice heard at the Scoping Hearing for the Downtown Rockaway Redevelopment Plan tomorrow (6:30pm to 9pm at St. John’s Hospital, Bocces Conference Room, 327 Beach 19th Street, Far Rockaway, NY 11691) and prepare with us tonight! The City's draft plan for this vacant public land will allow its lease or sale to a private developer for "new as-of-right residential uses pursuant to existing R3X zoning." R3X zoning allows for the construction of single and two-family detached homes. The current zoning would allow approximately 8-10 apartments to be built here. Zoning would require that each one get its own parking space. There may be better uses for 14,000 square feet of City land than creating 10 new market-rate housing units (even if those units are reserved for income-tested families). A lot more people might be impacted by a public-facing project on this site. We will meet tonight at 7pm at 1328 Augustina Ave. to discuss how to best present the need for the City to study alternatives to how this site will be used under the plan. WE DO HAVE OPTIONS!
Sept. 19, 2016, 3:56 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

The City's draft plan for this site will allow its lease or sale to a private developer for "new as-of-right residential uses pursuant to existing R3X zoning."

R3X zoning allows for the construction of single and two-family detached homes. See: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/zoning/districts-tools/r3x.pdf

This lot is a total of 14,000 square feet. The current zoning would allow approximately 8-10 apartments to be built here. Zoning would require that each one get its own parking space.

There may be better uses for 14,000 square feet of City land than creating 10 new market-rate housing units (even if those units are reserved for income-tested families). A lot more people might be impacted by a public-facing project on this site.

We will meet tonight at 7pm at 1328 Augustina Ave. to discuss how to best present the need for the City to study alternatives to how this site will be used under the plan.

Sept. 19, 2016, 3:45 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

City Limits covered the plan for the area:
http://citylimits.org/2016/09/16/enthusiasm-seen-for-far-rockaway-rezoning-plan/

Enthusiasm Seen for Far Rockaway Rezoning Plan
By Abigail Savitch-Lew | September 16, 2016

At a packed information session for the Far Rockaway rezoning proposal on Wednesday night, there were no protest banners and no petitions for alternative plans passing secretly hand to hand. Instead there was enthusiastic applause for Councilman Donovan Richards and the members of the working group who spearheaded the planning effort—with some saying that the revitalization couldn’t start soon enough.

“It’s nice to see all the plans that are coming together,” said local resident Lushon Fordyce. “It took too long…I feel like this is the only area that hasn’t received attention since [Hurricane] Sandy.”

“It’s been long overdue,” said Gordon Williams of the 101st precinct Community Council.

The city’s rezoning proposal for Far Rockaway came together with speed. Richards, perhaps taking a page from Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s playbook, launched his own community planning effort in downtown Far Rockaway in the fall of 2015. While Mark-Viverito’s community plan for East Harlem took 10 months, eight public meetings, 40 committee sessions and dozens of organizations to complete, Richards and his 15-member working group had finished theirs in three months, with four working group meetings and one public meeting to solicit feedback. On February 1st they sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio with a list of recommendations. Four days later the mayor announced in his State of the City address that he would budget $91 million to spur the revitalization of the Far Rockaways, “the kind of investment this neighborhood has not seen for years,” he said.

This spring, while the working group continued to meet, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) developed a plan in response to that letter and solicited public feedback at another public meeting. On August 19 EDC released a revised plan, making the Far Rockaways the eighth neighborhood that the city has publicly announced it will seek to rezone (the ninth and most recent is Gowanus) but the fourth where the city has already completed a ‘draft scope’ documenting the details of the plan.

Richards does not apologize for the pace. He says he was elected on a mandate for change, and that the Far Rockaways is not East Harlem, which he says already has commercial corridors and other resources (and, one might add, is one of the top five gentrifying neighborhoods in the city according to the Furman Center, causing trepidation about more development).

“I don’t see myself waiting 20 years to get this off the ground,” he told City Limits on Wednesday.

The working group may have moved quickly, but Kevin Alexander, director of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC) and a key member of it, says RDRC has been developing plans to spur commercial revitalization in the area for years. EDC’s plan, he says, “does represent what we envisioned, but more importantly, what the community says it would like to see in the district.” The organization had their own table next to those of city agencies at Wednesday night’s information session.

EDC’s Downtown Far Rockaway Roadmap for Action recommends rezoning the long neglected downtown to promote residential and commercial growth. Thirteen acres, or about a quarter of the total rezoning area, would be designated an urban renewal area (URA), as recommended by the working group. This would allow the city to take properties in the URA by eminent domain—the first de Blasio neighborhood plan to propose the use of this measure. EDC says there are a few property owners in the URA, but most of the land is owned by Rita Stark, the landlord famed for holding onto deteriorating properties across Brooklyn and Queens and former owner of the controversial Arlington Village site in East New York. Neighborhood stakeholders have long called on Stark to revitalize her Far Rockaway property, which contains a largely abandoned shopping center.

The city imagines recreating the entire URA with a new street network and releasing Request for Proposals (RFPs) for private development. It hopes to facilitate the creation of new retail and community facility spaces, a public plaza, and housing. The scope predicts the creation of 1,740 apartments.

The affordability of these units, to be specified in RFPs, will likely be a topic for future debate. Unlike East Harlem’s community plan, which said 20 percent of total units should be for families making less than 30 percent AMI ($24,480 for a family of three), the Far Rockaway working group’s original letter to de Blasio made less detailed recommendations, calling for “mixed-income housing that reflects the diversity of the existing community and prioritizes the needs of existing residents first, while attracting a mix of incomes.” EDC believes community members want a blend of market-rate and income-targeted housing, and currently imagine that 50 percent of the development in the URA will be market-rate and 50 percent will be income-restricted.

Outside the Urban Renewal Zone, the city predicts the rezoning may lead to the redevelopment of 17 to 26 privately owned sites, on which the city’s mandatory inclusionary housing policy would require that at least 20 to 30 percent of apartments be set aside for particular income groups. In addition, the city plans to redevelop two publicly owned sites in the rezoning area with 100 percent income-targeted housing. Altogether, including the land both in and outside the URA, the city predicts the plan will create more than 3,000 new units. The exact levels of affordability in these units is yet to be discussed.

Finally, the plan includes a variety of measures to address other neighborhood issues. For instance, EDC is bringing in a nonprofit called New America to develop a communally owned Wi-Fi network that would help Far Rockaway businesses communicate internally in the event that a natural disaster disrupts Internet service. The Department of Small Business Services is already dolling out funding to 19 downtown businesses for storefront improvements.

Though there was a positive mood at the information session on Wednesday, that doesn’t mean residents don’t have concerns. Lushon Fordyce wonders if local businesses could be pushed out by rising rents. Milan Taylor, founder of the Rockaway Youth Task Force, which participated in the working group, is concerned that without the right levels of affordability, the plan could lead to displacement. One resident at Wednesday’s meeting was distressed that local owners in the URA could lose their properties by eminent domain to private developers. Some others are concerned that an influx of new residents will create parking issues, though EDC says their plan will include adequate commercial and residential parking.

In the coming months, EDC will complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in which it will study the impact of the proposal on the neighborhood. The EIS will also analyze how the area could be affected by climate change. While Far Rockaway did not suffer as much as other parts of the Rockaways from Hurricane Sandy and EDC’s scope indicates that the bulk of development lies outside of a flood plane, there are portions of the rezoning area that could lie in a “100-year flood zone” by the 2020s, which means these areas could have a one percent chance of flooding every year. EDC will analyze how sea-level rise and storm frequency may affect the rezoning area.

It helps to sell a plan, however, when you have local organizations and a charismatic local councilman to advocate for its merits. Take Kenny Carter, president of Fathers Alive In the Hood, who wanted to know whether local residents would have access to construction jobs. It took a little while before the EDC representative understood his question, but she assured him that yes, there would be opportunities, and that his concerns would be taken into account. Carter was not so convinced, however, until Richards strode over and declared that getting construction jobs to the community was one of his top priorities, and heralded the work of Urban Upbound, which in 2013 opened a new Workforce1 center in the Rockaways that connects local residents to hurricane-recovery jobs.

“She couldn’t give us the answers that Donovan could clearly give us,” mused Carter after the meeting.

While the Councilman can pressure developers to make their best effort to hire locally, he has no way to guarantee jobs to local residents. The de Blasio administration, though it has ensured more publicly subsidized development projects are required to make “good faith efforts” to hire Workforce1 candidates, has so far said it would be illegal to mandate local hiring and other labor standards within a zoning text. The city is currently conducting a study on how to create access to good jobs in rezoning areas.

Sept. 15, 2016, 2:53 a.m.
mara, 596 acres said

MEETING NEXT MONDAY, September 19, 7pm at 1328 Augustina Ave (across the street from the lot) to prepare to testify at the City's hearing this Tuesday! The hearing is a chance to tell the government what impacts it needs to consider before it can responsibly adopt the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project, such as lack of open public space and public health. The Redevelopment Project would give this lot away to a private developer and create an Urban Renewal Area in downtown Rockaway.

Sept. 13, 2016, 4:44 p.m.
Mara (596 Acres) said

NEXT TUESDAY, Sept. 20 from 6:30pm to 9pm, Allison and fellow organizers will be testifying about what should be included in the study of the impacts of the City's Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Plan. This plan includes giving away this land and creating an Urban Renewal Area in downtown Rockaway. The Scoping Hearing is at St. John’s Hospital, Bocces Conference Room, 327 Beach 19th Street, Far Rockaway, NY 11691.

Prepare for the hearing with us NEXT MONDAY, time and location TBD, 596 Acres will meet with Allison and co. to break down the City's plan for downtown Far Rockaway and help write testimony for the hearing. Sign up to Organize here to make sure you find out the details!

Learn more about the plan TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14 from 7pm to 9pm: NYC is having a Downtown Far Rockaway Public Information Session where they will help unpack what is being proposed. Middle School 53,, 10-45 Nameoke Street (at Bayport Place), Queens, NY 11691. Allison will be there as well.

I sent this email to Allison yesterday which explains what is happening:

The hearing next Tuesday, September 20 is for the community to provide feedback on the Draft Scope of Work for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project. This document is basically a 83-page to-do list for the City’s environmental consultants of the things that they will need to study in order to ensure that this redevelopment project does not have bad impacts on the community/environment. It is attached to this email and can also be downloaded by clicking here: https://a002-ceqraccess.nyc.gov/ceqr/ProjectInformation/GetFile?fileName=16DME010Q_Draft_Scope_Of_Work_08192016&fileExt=.pdf&ceqrNum=16DME010Q&latestMS=Draft%20Scope%20of%20Work&token=b39d82a7-1fa5-40a6-988a-8d831f12c808.

At the meeting this Wednesday, somebody from the City will be describing this 83-page document.

The Scoping Hearing next Tuesday is an opportunity to say: study something different – the things you care about, for example, open space and food access in Downtown Far Rockaway. What would happen if these sites were kept as space for the community to grow food, rather than being given to a private developer? Here is a template for testifying at the scoping meeting, which has some examples:

On Monday, we will meet and can prepare testimonies for the Scoping Hearing together. We can also prepare letters to send as well.

As discussed, let us know when on Monday is best for your group!

Sept. 9, 2016, 6:17 p.m.
Allison Jeffrey said

We are organizing in attempt to eliminate the food deserts currently in the Far Rockaway community. All local supermarkets and Delicatessens (Delis) provide substandard offerings of produce and food to the people in this community from the lower Beaches to Beach 60. The closest supermarket with average to above average produce is located at Beach 70, 3 miles from the core Mott Ave and Central Ave. area; while the next closest supermarket is located in Inwood, NY, 1.2 miles away from this same intersection. Currently there are several supermarkets with substandard offerings: Bravo Supermarkets, Compare Foods, Food Dynasty, Keyfood, and other smaller, privately-owned supermarkets.

Citizens of Far Rockaway face an impoverished environment with a lack of above standard resources, particularly in nutrition, from the lower Rockaways to Beach 60s. In light of the current gentrification efforts currently in place in the Far Rockaway community, we are organizing to save land for the People's health and wellness. Currently the following is available for food alternatives: multiple Popeye's, McDonald's, multiple Dunkin Donuts, Checkers, an abundance of Chinese Food establishments, Golden Krust, KFC, Little Ceasars; all while the single and closest farm is located at Beach 45.

The preservation of land to farm in the lower Rockaways is imperative for the proper sustainability of the people. Poor food choices, lead to poor nutrition, and to poor health.

We implore you to join our efforts in organizing and communicating our needs.

Reach me at 718-749-8830 or afionaj@gmail.com

Sept. 1, 2016, 11:20 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

The City is seeking approval to give this land away to a private developer. The details are posted here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/oec/html/ceqr/16DME010Q.shtml

There will be a meeting to gather testimony about this plan on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at 6:30 P.M. at St John’s Episcopal Hospital, Boces Conference Room, 510 Beach 20th Street, Far Rockaway, NY 11691. Written comments on the Draft Scope of Work will be accepted by the ODMHED through 5:00 P.M. on Monday, October 3, 2016.

Sept. 1, 2016, 11:20 p.m.
paula at 596 acres uploaded
Downtown Rockaway Redevelopment Project Plan This plan describes the proposed give-away of this land and the creation of an Urban Renewal Area in downtown Rockaway.