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Community Board denies Astoria Cove proposal, unless more affordable units are built

June 18, 2014 By Michael Florio

Community Board 1 voted to deny the developer of a massive Astoria apartment complex with the zoning change needed to move ahead with the project– unless the developer agrees to meet a long list of conditions.

The conditions, announced at the Community Board 1 monthly meeting in Astoria last night, covered a variety of issues, but none more so than affordable housing.

The board wants the developer, Alma Realty, to increase the number of affordable units from 295 to about 590 units—equating to about 35 percent of the 1,689 units to be built.

Alma Realty plans to construct five buildings, ranging in height from six to 32 stories, on the Hallets Point peninsula—in a development called Astoria Cove.

In addition to the apartments, Alma plans to develop a waterfront esplanade, a public elementary school, a supermarket and 54,000 square feet of retail space.

However, the board focused heavily on affordable housing. It wants Alma to build a significant number of affordable two bedroom units in each building, which can cater to families. It also wants the affordable units to be integrated among all five residential buildings.

The board said that all tenants—whether they live in an affordable or market-rate units—must have the same access to building amenities. Furthermore, those units deemed “affordable” must remain so for the life of the building,

The board also stated that the affordable units should “accommodate low, moderate and middle-income individuals and families.”

The board’s vote is not binding and is merely advisory. However, the vote is taken into consideration when it is reviewed by the Queens Borough President, the City Planning Commission and ultimately the city council that puts it up for a vote.

The board also put forward other conditions.

The board wants Alma to create additional parking spaces. It wants the number of spaces to increase from 900 to more than 2,000. The board claims that there will not be enough parking spaces as the development matures—especially as the number of visitors, shoppers and restaurant goers increases.

The board wants Alma to work harder to establish ferry service and to bring a medical center to the area.

In terms of jobs, the board said that local residents, particularly younger people seeking apprenticeships, should receive priority, when it comes to construction, security and maintenance jobs.

“We want jobs for the neighborhood and as a union member myself, I would like union jobs,” said Community Board 1 Chairman Vinicio Donato, to a big applause from the many union members in attendance.

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Murdock

These conditions proposed by the community board are a representation of the close to 10 yr campaign NYC landlords, building owners and local government have waged against the working class populous, first in the borough of Brooklyn and now in the borough of Queens. Yuppies – now called Hipsters – are willing to pay Manhattan prices for Queens real estate, creating an uneven balance. Queens natives who have 30 plus years in the neighborhoods of Astoria, Long Island City, Ditmars, etc are being edged out for wanna be Manhattanites and NYC transplants leaving lower/middle class families in a never ending class war where they usually end up getting short changed in more ways than one. Personally, me being born and raised in Queens and residing in Astoria and Long Island City, I find it ridiculous that for $1400 a month what you get is a crappy basement apartment if your lucky in Astoria, and unless yr Trump Jr. don’t even consider L.I.City. If you like these neighborhoods so much – their beer gardens, thrift stores, easy commute, and all the ‘mom and pap’ neighborhood shops Manhattan has destroyed for a Starbucks or Bed Bath and Beyond…pay up sucker because my borough isn’t for free…

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Sebaco

Watching all of the heavy-bellied union hacks chest bump and hop into their Land Rovers after the meeting, i can only agree with one of the above “demands”. That’s the idea of establishing a East River ferry route from Astoria to locations in Manhattan. It’s nuts to have everyone parade east down Astoria Blvd, which is often a parking lot, to get on a subway to then take them around and back into the city.

Oh, and let’s stop using this politically correct “affordable housing” phraseology. It’s subsidized housing that becomes an additional tax in the form of higher market rents for everyone not fortunate to win a damn lottery.

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Astoriapete

When will people understand that nothing in life is free. Affordable housing just means somebody else will be paying more for their apartment. If you can’t afford the rent live somewhere else. It’s that easy!!

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a.bidge

Union jobs and affordable housing; so you want to be lazy with an over inflated self worth, and pay nothing for your apartment. Oh the American dream.

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