2010-11-19 / Top Stories

CB 14 Supports Waterfront Recommendations

By Miriam Rosenberg
After months of workshops and meetings, the Department of City Planning presented its draft report for the Vision 2020: Comprehensive Waterfront Plan for the Rockaways during this month’s Community Board 14 meeting. The presentation was an effort to get feedback from the board and the community. “The new plan will provide a strategy to identify opportunities and expand the use of the water for transportation, recreation, [and] education, all while improving the water quality and for the first time address challenges to global warming and climate change,” said Brendon Pillar of the DCP.

Pillar takes notes as John McCann, left, speaks during the public comment part of the meeting. Pillar takes notes as John McCann, left, speaks during the public comment part of the meeting. The following are the draft recommendations, which were released in September and came from input during community

workshops, online comments and in writing.

Secure funding for seawall repair from Beach 116 to Beach 156 Streets and improve public access on cityowned waterfront sites from Beach 125 to Beach 130 Streets, identified in the draft as Beach Channel West/Beach Channel Park; at Beach 108 Street the draft calls for examining options for redeveloping the site once remediation is complete, to be compatible with enhancing the vacant city-owned lots to the north of the site as a waterfront recreation area; at the Beach 88 Street DPR site the draft suggests improving the site for waterfront public access and passive recreation; for the Beach 80 Street and marina site it is suggested that there should be support for proposed commercial development which will provide a publicly accessible human-powered boat launch and an 18-slip marina on the currently vacant land; in the Arverne Renewal Area the plan calls for support of the planned educational center and nature preserve and maintaining a protected habitat, ensure planned public access to the boardwalk at Arverne by the Sea and improve signage and way-finding [on] Beach 59 Street to create better connection to waterfront resources along the bay; at the Edgemere Landfill/ Rockaway Community Park there should be a study for possible future uses for the remediated landfill in conjunction with a master plan for Rockaway Community Park that improves pedestrian access, includes provisions for in-water recreation, addresses mosquito issues, and restores shoreline and habitat; on the Rockaway Peninsula there should be an exploration of providing human-powered boat access from the beach on the Atlantic Ocean.

Brendon Pillar of the Department of City Planning outlines the parts of the Vision 2020: Comprehensive Waterfront Plan that pertains to the Rockaways. Brendon Pillar of the Department of City Planning outlines the parts of the Vision 2020: Comprehensive Waterfront Plan that pertains to the Rockaways. Among the residents who spoke at the meeting were John McCann, who asked the board to reach out to all the people of the area “not just those who say ‘not in my backyard.’ ”

“Poll them. For every negative call you’re going to get in that office, you’re going to get 50 people who want to use water access,” said McCann.

Joe Hartigan, a proponent of ferry use for the Rockaways, said, “For every suggestion – tall ships, kayaks, rowers, day sailors – all this stuff could be done at 108 Street.” He added, “It’s centrally located for everybody in Rockaway.”

The board voted unanimously to support the draft, providing certain revisions are made. Where the words ‘human powered’ appeared it should be changed to ‘non-motorized.’ At Beach 108 Street the board asked for a more expansive recommendation that includes repairs of the seawall, piers suitable for ferry service and fishing and a motorized boat launch.

While there are some separate waterfront plans circulating such as one from the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, Pillar said that, “we’re not in touch with Jeanne Dupont [president of RWA].” He added, “If they can get us some recommendations, that would be great.”

To read the draft recommendations and give comment go to www.nyc. gov/waterfront. The deadline for comment is this Friday, November 12 at 5 p.m.

A final version of the Vision 2020 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan is to be completed by the end of December and will then be presented to the public.

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