Plans For Edgemere Press On
NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) met with more than 250 members of the Edgemere community, over the weekend, to reveal the “Resilient Edgemere Community Planning Initiative”—an eight-page roadmap for future development in the neighborhood between Beach 35th and Beach 49th streets in Far Rockaway.
Daniel Hernandez, HPD Deputy Commissioner for Neighborhood Strategies, said that HPD held two workshops with community stakeholders, in October and December of 2015, to better understand some of the issues in the community.
“A big piece of this project looks at resiliency,” Hernandez said. “It has to do with how you think about a neighborhood today and 30-to-50 years from now.”
According to Hernandez, the initiative includes 63 different projects that will span anywhere from the short-term (1-to-5 years), medium-term (5-to-10 years) or long-term (more than 10 years) to complete. The projects vary from the ongoing construction of senior housing, the implementation of Select Bus Service along the Q52/Q53 bus route, drainage and coastal studies, mixed use development along Rockaway Beach Boulevard, a new supermarket and other amenities.
The Edgemere Urban Renewal Plan was created in 1997 to shape the framework for the investment of $100 million in sewer and street improvements and the construction of 800 housing units. However, when the housing market bubble popped, around 2007, the city decided to cut its funding for the project. Only 307 one- and two-family homes were constructed, leaving several city-owned lots vacant or abandoned.
Hernandez said that a big portion of the project would focus on filling in the “missing teeth,” by completing the plans for more affordable single- and two-family homes.
“The city never built out what it promised it would finish,” said city Councilman Donovan Richards. “We finally have an administration that is committed to funding their plans…finishing the job that was started [more than] 20 years ago.”
However, some local residents were less enthusiastic about the plans than others.
Jackie Roberts, president of the Edgemere Community Group, previously told The Wave that without added amenities, such as a supermarket or library, the plans will not help sustain the community as a whole.
“We must demand the repair of infrastructure before the implementation of any zoning change; giving the Edgemere community local eateries, a library, a park, a recreation center within walking distance—not in the future—but now,” Roberts said, in a message on the civic organization’s homepage. “We must demand that homeowners are assisted with recovery and resiliency measures— not just elevation options; especially those not in the Build it Back program. We must demand economic inclusion and community development programs that benefit all local residents and entrepreneurs.”
Lenny Yarde, president of the Water’s Edge at Arverne Condominium Association said that his biggest concern is not development, but the developers and the materials used to build the proposed one- to two-family homes.
“When does affordable housing lose its affordability? When they saddle homeowners with more than the cost that went into constructing it,” Yarde said. “If you buy a house, aren’t you entitled to live in a place that is free of any laden defects.”
Yarde said that homeowners who live in these affordable units—similar to the ones being proposed by HPD—have reported leaks and property damage that were not caused by Hurricane Sandy, but the deterioration of the structure, as it was constructed.
Once a neighborhood plan is finalized, HPD will communicate with the public on how it will go about implementing it.