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Public Hearing on Proposed 7-Story Sunnyside Development to Take Place Nov. 18

Rendering of Phipps’ current plan for 50-25 Barnett Ave.

Nov. 11, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

A public hearing is scheduled to take place next week to discuss controversial plans filed by a developer looking to rezone a Sunnyside property to make way for a seven-story, 167-unit building.

The hearing will address the rezoning application filed by Phipps Houses, a non-profit developer that aims to rezone its 50-25 Barnett Ave. site from manufacturing to residential in order to proceed with the project.

The hearing will take place on Nov. 18 via the video-conferencing application Webex and will kick off at 6:30 p.m.

The event, which is being hosted by Community Board 2, will mark the first step in the rezoning/ULURP process and members of the public will get a chance to weigh in on the new plans.

People who wish to provide comment at the hearing must fill out a form on the CB2 website at the following link. Each speaker will be allocated a maximum of two-minutes, and written statements will also be accepted.

The application filed by Phipps was certified by the Dept. of City Planning on Oct. 5 and CB2 is required to hold a hearing on the plans before it renders an advisory opinion.

The plans will then 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 current plans call for a mixed-use building on the north side of Barnett Avenue between 50th and 52nd streets. The building would consist of 167 units that would all be deemed affordable–subject to income restrictions. The units would be 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and there would be no studios.

The development would also include room for a community facility as well as 170 attended parking spaces, of which 111 would be made available for the public.

The application comes four years after Phipps abandoned a more ambitious rezoning plan for the site after facing fierce community opposition. That plan called for a 10-story structure with more than 200 units, with incomes set at higher Area Median Income (AMI) levels.

Critics argued that 10-stories was too big and that the AMI levels were too high. Other residents opposed the plan fearing that they would struggle to find parking if the site is developed.

The property, which is adjacent to the Long Island Railroad, is currently used as a parking lot, and has room for about 220 vehicles. Many residents at the 472-unit Phipps Gardens Apartment complex nearby use it since that complex does not include on-site parking.

The public is able to view or listen to the Nov. 18 hearing but must register by clicking here. The event is scheduled to last about three hours.

Residents can also phone in and listen to the meeting by dialing 418-408-9388 and using the access code 173-972-2075.

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