2002-05-11 / Columnists

Simon Says…. From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Simon Says….
From the Desk of Lew M. Simon,
Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

We wish a very special and Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers in our community.

On Thursday evening, Benjamin Beechwood LLC, developers of Averne-by-the-Sea, gave a presentation at the Town Hall meeting of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club.

The three speakers were: Eric C.Y. Fang, AIA, APA; Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut and Kuhn Architect P.C., Peter G. Florey, Vice President of Benjamin Development Corporation; and Howard S. Weiss, Attorney at law of Davidoff. & Malito LLP. They have been awarded the right to develop the 117-acre sight in Arverne from Beach 74 Street to Beach 62 Street and currently undeveloped areas west to Beach 81 Street.

In the new neighborhood that bounds the community area, a series of parks and recreations areas, a community and daycare center, a new school for children of neighborhood families, a retail corridor along a mixed-use new promenade and the selection of low-density one- and two-family residences. The plan also features mid-rise housing, which will incorporate local shopping and neighborhood amenities.

The phasing plan for the proposal has been designed to ensure the success of the entire project. The plan carefully coordinates the development of infrastructure by the developer (including sanitary sewers, storm sewers, water supply, streets, utilities, the community facilities, open space and a school) with the building of one and two-family homes, mid-rise housing and local retail.

The project will be constructed in four phases. Phase I will be divided into two sections: Phase I (a), which will include 32 two-family homes to be built on the beach block between 73rd and 74th Streets. Phase I (a) has already been provided and construction will begin in June 2002. The design of the homes will be a demonstration of the design features, character and the quality of the overall community to be built.

Phases I (b) through IV -- the balance of the sight will require extensive public reviews and approvals under the SEQRA/SEQR and ULURP, which are expected to be completed by June 2003. In Phase I (b), the most readily marketable one and two-family homes will be developed first along with the first section of the community center, which include approximately 20,000 sq. feet. The construction of the proposed school will commence immediately and its use will be phased-in beginning on an interim limited basis.

Phase II will consist of more one and two-family homes forming the neighborhood called the Dunes. Phase III will consist of condominiums and rental housing, developed in the neighborhood called the Tides as well as the retail corridor which runs from the elevated subway station to the ocean. Phase IV will include additional two-family homes, condominiums and retail units in a neighborhood called Palmer’s Landing.

In addition to the community center and school, Benjamin-Beechwood will build a park and daycare center as the project is developed. These latter community improvements will be built so that as each phase is completed, the amenity within that phase will also be finished.

The two-family homes, condominiums and rental units will be affordable to households with incomes starting at $40,000 to $45,000 depending upon unit size.

The retail component is divided into two distinct sections. The first section to be built will be bound by Beach 67th Street, Rockaway Beach Blvd., Beach 73rd Street and the Rockaway Freeway. The sight will include 60,000 to 75,000 sq. feet of large retail use. It is likely that the sight will include a supermarket and pharmacy.

The second section of retail will be along the ground floor of Ocean Way, which is currently Beach 67th Street and runs from the train station to the ocean. This will include approximately 125,000 square feet of space for smaller scale users such as: cleaners, stationary stores, realtors, eating establishments, law or medical office space, shoe repair, delicatessen, book store, nail and hair salon, surf shop and other related uses.

Club members, community members and I brought a number of questions and problems to the attention of the developers. They promised full soil testing to check if any toxic waste has been dumped on the sight. The need for additional hospital facilities should be discussed at future public scoping sessions. The developers are aware of the need to make flood insurance available to potential homeowners.

A local contractor urges the developers to hire skilled local workers for the construction. I pointed out the importance of good jobs for union workers. The developers have not yet determined their work force.

We urge the developers to work with the community to improve transportation to Manhattan. The developers have obtained a location for a possible ferry landing in Barbados Basin (Beach 77 Street). We urge them to support an affordable subsidized ferry.

We pointed out the importance of opening the Rockaway Beach Line of the Long Island Railroad so direct train service to Manhattan could be provided. They agreed to look into the transit service proposal.

The development of Arverne-by-the-Sea will have an impact on all of us. We urge you all to get involved in making sure this development benefits current and new residents of our community.

Our next Atlantic City trip to Trump Marina will be on Saturday, May 18. We leave at 5:30 P.M. and return at 8 A.M. The cost is $25 with $15 returned. We have eight (8) hours for enjoyment. For reservations for the Trump Marina trip call my office at 718-945-1216.

The correct phone number for Depute Mayor Dan Doctoroff is 212-788-0102. Please call to remind him of the importance of funding an affordable Rockaway ferry.

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