Jan. 15, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
An apartment complex planned for Woodhaven Boulevard in Rego Park got the green light from Community Board 6 Wednesday.
The approval comes in response to a developer’s application to rezone a large parcel on the corner of Woodhaven Blvd. and 68th Road in order to construct an 8-story, 92-unit building that would include 28 affordable units dedicated for seniors.
The plan also involves 8,000 square feet of retail space and approximately 8,720 square feet for medical offices.
CB6 voted in favor of the 68-19 Woodhaven Blvd. project on the condition that the developer lowers the height from 8 stories to 7 stories– in response to residents who argued that the building would be too tall. The board also called on the developer to come up with a plan to mitigate any potential damage to the surrounding buildings caused by construction.
The board ultimately approved the plan saying that the community’s need for senior affordable housing outweighed the negative aspects of the project.
The developer, listed as 68-19 Rego Park LLC, needs the property rezoned in order to move forward with the project. The plans involve the demolition of existing buildings that contain a florist/garden center as well as an auto repair shop.
A number of residents submitted written complaints to the board that were read out by Community Board 6 Chairperson Alexa Weitzman.
Some wrote that the proposed development was too high, given the height of the surrounding buildings–that are mainly residential.
They said that an 8-story structure would block sunlight into their homes and thus impact their quality of life. They also argued that the reduction in sunlight would decrease the value of their homes.
Some residents raised safety concerns, arguing that the demolition and construction of the project would cause cracks and damage to surrounding buildings. They said that many of these buildings–primarily residential–are old and would not be able to withstand the impact of vibrations.
Another complaint was that the demand for parking spaces would shoot up due to an influx of new residents, coupled with the building’s commercial element. The building would have 81 accessory parking spaces but they argue that the number would not meet the new demand.
Weitzman said that a petition opposing the plans had also been submitted to the board that was signed by 70 residents.
The board’s Land Use Committee voted in favor of the plan last week, noting that there is a need for senior affordable housing.
The committee, however, requested that the developer make the units more affordable. The initial proposal called for all 28 affordable units to be available at 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
The developer, in response, pledged to reduce the income level to 60 percent of the Area Media Income for 18 of the 28 units.
The board’s vote Wednesday to approve the rezoning is an advisory opinion.
The plans will now go to the Queens Borough President’s office for another advisory opinion, before going to the City Planning Commission and then the City Council for a binding vote.
The rezoning application will need the support of Council Member Karen Koslowitz in order to pass the City Council. It is customary for the city council to vote according to the wishes of the local representative where the zoning change is proposed.