2001-02-17 / Front Page

Far Rock Apartment Building Proposed

Far Rock Apartment Building Proposed

Community Board Votes Against Project

By John C. McLoughlin

Developers proposing to construct a four-story, 21-unit apartment building in Far Rockaway are facing community opposition, having received a vote of no confidence at this week’s Community Board 14 meeting.

Bridge Creek apartments, which will be located at 217 Beach 3 street between Seagirt avenue and Seagirt boulevard, has caused a stir among residents of the quiet one and two-family house neighborhood.

Richard Libbey, developer of Bridge Creek, described the project as "upscale, luxurious apartments for high income." The one and two bedroom apartments will require tenants to have incomes from $37,000 to as high as $120,000. And, according to Libbey, there will be extensive income and credit checks to verify all information.

The apartment building, which sits on an 80,000 square foot site, will cover 6,000 square feet, including parking. Libbey said that there will be parking onsite, offering 29 spots.

Part of developing the site involves repairing the bulkhead, which has been neglected for more than 70 years. There also will be an extensive clean up of the now vacant lot where the apartment building will be constructed. The lot presently has been an eyesore to the community for years, with a collection of garbage and abandoned cars.

Libbey said he’s "trying to get the community involved," assuring the public that the building will have a walkway for locals and access to the boat slips. He even refers to the building’s proposed geo-thermal heating system as being safe for the environment, saying that it will provide an efficient use of energy and cut costs for tenants.

Residents are viewing Libbey and the Bridge Creek apartments with a wary eye. Libbey is known for his involvement with the new addition at Wavecrest Gardens, which has been a source of controversy over the low-income tenants the building is mandated to house.

Tracey Conroy, a homeowner whose property is next to the proposed Bridge Creek building, said, "Libbey hasn’t been honest...it’s one lie after another. He constantly changes his numbers."

Conroy was joined by more than 20 residents of the neighborhood who spoke out against the development at Tuesday night’s Community Board 14 meeting. They don’t trust that Libbey will be honest with them about the income levels of the tenants, and fear that parking problems will be a result of the new building.

"A building doesn’t belong here," Conroy said. "This is a small community of one and two-family homes."

Community Board 14, after hearing the comments from the residents, gave a vote of no confidence. Although the developer would have preferred support from the community board, this vote against the project does not in any way prevent the construction from moving forward.

"I will have nice apartments where people can live and feel comfortable," Libbey said. "It’ll be an asset to the community."

Construction is expected to start in November 2001, with a completion date nine to 13 months later.

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