May 22, 2019 By Christian Murray
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said that he is going to approve a rezoning application for a site on corner of Northern Boulevard and 34th Avenue since the developers have agreed to scale down their proposal.
Developers Ashley Young LLC and John Young Associates have been given the all-clear by Van Bramer to build a 10-story, 187-unit building at 47-15 34th Ave., a site that is currently home to Popeyes, a Sushi restaurant, a tire shop, a Kumon learning center and a house of worship.
The rezoning is currently undergoing the public review process, or ULURP, with the City Council being the only real obstacle left that can block the application. Van Bramer said that with his clearance the council will vote in favor or the rezoning. The City Planning Commission approved it last month.
The developers initially filed plans to build a 14-story, 201-unit building, which included 61 affordable units. They applied for the property to be rezoned R7-X, with a C2-4 commercial overlay. The site is currently zoned C8-1, which does not permit residential use and building heights are limited to about two stories.
The initial plan was rejected by Community Board 1, an advisory body that deemed the project too big. Additionally, the board argued that the income levels proposed for the affordable units—to be set at 80 percent of the Adjusted Median Income ($85,360 for a family of four)—was too high.
Van Bramer said that he will approve the application since the developers have agreed to limit the building to 10 stories and 187 units. Furthermore, he said, they have pledged to offer about 40 units at 60 percent AMI ($64,020 for a family of four) and approximately 20 units at 80 percent of the AMI.
“The proposed plan at 34th Avenue…will produce meaningful affordable housing, most of which will be at 60 percent AMI,” Van Bramer said. “The current agreement provides deeper affordability than originally proposed. Furthermore, the developer has agreed to concessions to reduce the height of the buildings to 10 stories from the initial 14. Queens Community Board 1 sought a building no greater than 10 stories and we have achieved that here.”
Van Bramer said that residents at nearby Woodside Houses, including Tenant Association President Annie Cotton-Morris, backed the plan.
“Their feedback and approval is important to me,” Van Bramer said. He noted that there will be space dedicated to the local non profit Urban Upbound, which provides services for underserved adults and children, free of charge. Furthermore, the SEIU 32BJ supports the project.
The development will also include ground floor retail space and 77 off-street parking spaces.