A Coherent Housing Policy For Rockaway
Rockaway has been inundated over the past year with new housing. Most of those homes are designed to bring new, middle-class residents to the peninsula and to stimulate commercial development as well. That is the good news. There is, however, lots of bad news associated with those new homes as well. There are the obvious issues that have already been addressed, such as the paucity of school seats for the children who will live in those homes and the poor construction of some of the units. There are the traditional Rockaway questions as well. How will those new people commute to work on Rockaway’s antiquated transportation system? Where will they park their automobiles, particularly in the summer months, when parking spots are already at a premium? What will the additional cars do to Rockaway’s already crowded east-west streets? Where will they shop? Where will they find recreation? Added to those traditional questions are some new ones. The most obvious of those is why the completed homes remain empty. The homes across from Beach Channel High School have been finished since early last summer, yet they remain empty of life. The new homes across from PS 225 have been ready for occupancy since September, and have reportedly all been sold. Why are they empty? We have been told that there are problems with final approvals, with the builders getting Certificates of Occupancy from the city’s Depart-ment of Buildings. We have been told that the harsh winter we have just been through has pushed back the timelines. We have been told lots of things by lots of people, but remain unconvinced that there is not something wrong with the city’s housing policy in relation to Rockaway. We are living through a piecemeal development process. It is time that our elected officials sit down with community representatives and work out a coherent policy that will address both the needs of the developers and those of the community.