Far Rockaway Revitalization Approved

After a unanimous vote, the City Planning Commission (CPC) approved the Far Rockaway rezoning and revitalization initiative put forth by the New York City Department of Economic Development on July 10, 2017.  While the $91 million-dollar revitalization plan still needs City Council approval, the CPC vote is a huge win for Far Rockaway and is in line with their recent decision to approve revitalization plans for East New York. The revitalization proposal aligns with Mayer de Blasio’s plan to build and preserve over 200,000 units of affordable housing in the city over the next 10 years.

The 25-point plan focuses on creating affordable housing, revamping the transit hub near the Mott Avenue A Train station, as well as making drastic improvements to public space via expanded sidewalks, benches, foliage. Most importantly, the plan seeks to activate underutilized properties and make improvements to existing storefronts that will spark economic development in the area.

While the plan has a lot of support from the community and elected officials, there are some who fear what this revitalization plan could mean for the community. Before the July 10th vote, Commissioner Ana Levin raised concerns about a land transfer embedded within the rezoning proposal. The plan calls for a transfer of ownership of a lot owned by the Department of Sanitation to a private developer. The land will most likely be used as housing, though others want the land to be used for an urban farm and community garden. Additionally, some residents are worried about the impact of the revitalization on long term residents. They fear that increased rents and gentrification due to the development could force them out of their homes. The plan’s focus on affordable housing seeks to quell concerns about gentrification, however only time will tell how the revitalization will impact these residents.

For the proposal to become a reality, it will need the approval of the City Council. According to City Councilmember Donovan Richards, the City Council has 50 days to discuss and vote on the plan. If approved, it will go to Mayor de Blasio for his signature.