2007-12-07 / Letters

What Is The Answer To Beach 116 Street?

Dear Editor,

I have a vision of what Beach 116 Street should be and it is not what it is today. I am a lifetime resident of Rockaway, second generation. I am also a real estate broker but I have no dealing with anyone on Beach 116 Street. I am speaking as a Rockaway Park resident.

I have attended several meetings on the current zoning proposal for Rockaway and upgrading Beach 116 Street. I enjoy the fact that we live in New York City without the feel of the City. We live in our own beach community and I love it. But I do have one glaring problem; I am disappointed in the appearance of Beach 116 Street. I believe it can be so much more than what we have. There are so many single room occupancies on just one block. There is no shopping except for a handful of stores, and I am grateful that they are there.

The truth is, we as a community have a chance to change the appearance of Beach 116 Street, from the boulevard to the boardwalk, for the first time since 1961. City planning proposed an R-7 A district, which means three Ocean Grandes on the east beach block of Beach 116 Street.

The proposal was voted down by Community Boards 14-15 because critics claim that traffic in the area will be overwhelming; that we will be overpopulated. They claimed that we would inherit up to 745 new units. I believe they are wrong, I believe we would get an additional 400 units. I do agree that there must be 100 percent parking.

As far as the parking problem, how many apartments are on Beach 117 Street now? Very close to 300 units, with less than 150 parking spaces. It does not create a traffic problem. Is it a nuisance to park, you bet. So is everywhere west of Beach 116 Street, especially in the summer months. But we created that decades ago so as not to have an influx of beachgoers parking anywhere in the area.

My vision is that Beach 116 Street gets upgraded. We get four new buildings like Ocean Grande (one at The Beach Club site and three across the street) but with nice restaurants on the first floor. The street will change overnight. Maybe somebody will get the idea that we should build up the municipal parking lot into tiers for more parking.

I am only one resident, these are my views. You must express yours. You must attend the community board meeting to express your opinions. I believe the Community Board meeting was stacked with people against. They even stood on command. If you are for this proposal, you must send letters of your support; actually, that is mandatory if you want your opinion to count. Pro or con, this is our community. There were a lot of people from Rockaway Park against the proposal. Is this the true voice of Rockaway? You have to stand up, write or call your community board and your political leaders; stand up and have your voice heard.

To me, this project is the lesser of two evils. The buildings are worth more than the land, so no one will demolish a building to build a smaller, less profitable building. Therefore, the nearly 100-year-old wood frame buildings on Beach 116 Street will stay. The only plan I have seen that can change the appearance of Beach 116 Street is the 7A zoning plan from the Department of City Planning.

Pro or con, you must make your voices heard. You heard mine, now I would love to hear yours.


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