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Downtown Far Rockaway “Rejuvenation”

I have supported Donovan Richards in many of his projects, but I can not support this one.  This is not a "revitalization" or "rejuvenation" plan at all.  It is two things wrapped up in a bundle to get the most support.

Under the Mayor's Zero Vision program, sidewalks will be widened and traffic lanes reduced.  And parking spaces will be eliminated.  And under Donovan Richards housing plan, over 3,000 dwelling units will be built without adequate parking and more parking spaces will be removed.

As I said in my rebuttal submitted to the city, this plan will damage Far Rockaway for generations.

You can read a Gotham Gazette article about the project here.

You can see the initial glossy brochure that was presented here.

And you can read the true plan that was sprung on the community with less than a month’s notice here.

You can read my rebuttal here.   Note that the rebuttal includes a series of questions to DOT that were not answered at the time that the rebuttal was written.  You can read the questions to DOT, their answers, and my responses here.  As of November, 2016 DOT’s answers and my responses are incorporated into both documents.

After the Draft Scope of Work document, the NYC Economic Development Corporation (the prime mover in the city’s plan) issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement.  It is several inches thick, but says, essentially that Far Rockaway’s problems are due to a lack of housing.  In response, they proposed building 3,300 apartments to house 8,000 people.  Their proposal does not address any of the issues that most residents would consider important in revitalizing the downtown Far Rockaway area such as alleviating traffic congestion, providing adequate parking, or having stores that would attract people with money to spend.

The Community Board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Downtown Far Rockaway met on Thursday, February 16, 2017.  It made a number of recommendations (available here)  which were adopted by Community Board 14 when it agreed to support the proposal with a number of conditions.   The EDC said that they would accept those conditions, but ultimately submitted the proposal to Borough President Melinda Katz and the City Planning Commission unchanged, including 175’ tall (17 stories) buildings “in context with the neighborhood.”

The PowerPoint presentation prepared for the Borough President is available here (you may have to permit the file to be opened - use the scroll wheel on your mouse to move up or down, Escape to exit) while the more specific response is available here.

The procedure is that after the Borough President makes a recommendation, the City Planning Commission makes a decision on adopting the proposed plans, modifying them, or rejecting them.  The City Planning Commission has the real power.  You can read our submission to them here.  

If you wish, you can provide your comments to the Commission by clicking here.  We strongly urge you to submit comments.  You can write up to 500 characters directly on their web page, otherwise you can submit a Microsoft Word document or a PDF file.  Note that the web site is not the fastest that you will find.  Have patience.  Most of the answers to the questions are obvious.  After you enter the Borough (click on the drop down), you will have to enter the project.  Just click on the dropdown and select Downtown Far Rockaway.

If you have any problems submitting comments, send an e-mail to falik@solutionsNY.nyc or call 718-327-6370.

Also, take a look at the update page, here.