BEEP: Maintain Access To Beaches In AURA
Those Rockaway residents who were worried that the new Arverne by the Sea development would block public access to beaches on the peninsula can breath a sigh of relief this week with an announcement by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall that a deal has been cut with the Department of Parks to insure that access.
"We’ve worked hard to assure that access to the beach in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area (AURA) will be protected after new housing is built by several developers," Marshall told The Wave. "The beaches in Rockaway are one of our city’s greatest natural resources and must remain open to all of those who want to enjoy the sun and the surf," she said.
Under the terms of the agreement signed last month by Marshall and the Department of Parks and Recreation, once the oceanfront construction is completed, a total of 19 access points between Beach 32 Street and Beach 73 Street will be maintained for public use.
Once the transfer of the access points are made from the developer to the city under the agreement, the Department of Parks and Recreation will assume the responsibility for keeping access open and they will become part of the department’s beach maintenance program.
According to Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14, those access points will be at Beach 73 Street, Beach 69 Street, Beach 67 Street and a point just east of Beach 67 Street, Beach 62 Street, Beach 54 Street, from Beach 52 Street to Beach 46 Street, Beach 44 Street, Beach 42 Street, Beach 38 Street, Beach 35 Street and Beach 32 Street.
"We have been waiting for this agreement so that we can go ahead with the Land Disposal Agreement for the entire area," Gaska said. "The community board was worried that the public would not have access to the beach in the area where the homes will be built and we needed this agreement to go ahead."
Gaska added that Parks could have closed any beach that it wanted to close administratively prior to the agreement.
"Although it was never true that ‘gated’ communities were planned for Arverne, that rumor is all over the community and this agreement will put an end to that," Gaska said.
As part of the plan, Shore Front Parkway will be extended from its present terminus at Beach 73 Street eastward to Beach 57 Street, nearby Ocean Village.
Access to the beach in that area will reportedly be from Shore Front Parkway. Farther east, access will be from Edgemere Avenue.
At least six of the access points will require passage through a nature preserve being created in Phase II – the eastern portion of the AURA.
"The community board has been waiting for three critical agreements prior to moving ahead with the project," Gaska says. "They are the school, the recreation center and the access points. Now that this agreement is in place, we can move ahead."
Marshall told The Wave that she "loves Rockaway" and said she has ever since she came from the Bronx on day trips when she was young. "I could never understand why that land just sat there, why nobody could get it together."
The first section of homes in the Arverne By the Sea development will open early this summer, with hundreds more planned. The first section centers on Beach 73 Street, between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Shore Front Parkway. The next section is expected to start shortly east and north of the first section.
Approximately 1,000 of the 2,300 units will be developed in midrise buildings between five and 11 stories high.
Those 2,300 units are expected to be completed by 2009.