Information about this lot
Why is this lot here?
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!
allison's editorial is in here! http://citylimits.org/2017/02/27/print-your-copy-of-our-rockaway-rezoning-newsletter/
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 email@example.com or post right on the lot page!
Thank you for your past support and we hope to see you next Thursday.
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.
"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
Please keep me posted about the Block, lot. We need to research and see if it fell under the new rezoning codes.
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!!
Rockaway! We will meet this afternoon at 4pm at 1328 Augustina Ave to plan for the future of this lot. See ya there!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3 if you would like to join!
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!
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION and SHARE!!
To tell the City not to plan to give this land away, send an email to email@example.com 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
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.
Paula Z. Segal, Esq.
Director, NYC Community Land Access Program
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.
City Limits covered the plan for the area:
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.
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.