Nation's largest passive residence comes to Rockaways
by Patrick Kearns
Nov 24, 2015 | 4807 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Officials break ground at Beach Green in Rockaway.
Officials break ground at Beach Green in Rockaway.
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Some residents express concern over the population boom and the lack of infrastructure to support it.
Some residents express concern over the population boom and the lack of infrastructure to support it.
slideshow
The nation's largest passive housing development, which will be for very low, low and moderate income tenants, is coming to Far Rockaway. And while government officials celebrated the groundbreaking last week, some area residents called on the city to focus on infrastructure before building more housing.

Dubbed Beach Green North, the project will include 101 units divided among studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. At least 50 percent of the units will be reserved for Rockaway residents.

Twenty-four apartments will be affordable to households earning an annual income up to $28,435 for an individual and $38,850 for a household of three; 26 apartments will be affordable to households earning an annual income up to $34,485 for an individual and $46,620 for a household of three; while 50 units will be affordable to households earning up to $41,450 for an individual and $62,150 for a household of three.

“This development is a huge step in the right direction of improving the quality of life for working families, as well as ensuring that Rockaway residents can afford to stay in the community where they have created a life for themselves and their family,” said Councilman Donovan Richards.

He added, “Our seniors, our blue-collar workers, and our youth coming out of college are struggling to not only stay in their own communities, but the city as a whole. We must not push them out by denying them the opportunity to live and work here.”

The total cost is estimated to be approximately $32.5 million. Funding for the project comes from the de Blasio administration's 10-year affordable housing plan.

The development is also geared towards resilience, and is the largest passive house in the nation.

“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the city committed to not just build it back, but to build it better, helping neighborhoods like the Edgemere area in the Rockaways plan for a more resilient future,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been. “Beach Green North exemplifies our efforts to ensure the affordable housing we finance is stronger, more sustainable, and better prepared for future severe weather events.”

In addition to amenities like terraces and recreational space, it also features a roof garden, native species plantings and bioswales. Richards also praised a local hiring effort by Bluestone companies.

Outside the construction fence, however, the sentiments towards the development were not all positive. A group of about a dozen Far Rockaway residents protested more housing in the neighborhood, calling for infrastructure improvements

Audrey Anderson, a nearby resident, said the area needs more stores and restaurants and for city officials to curb the current housing boom. She wondered why projects like this were being put in a community where there are few jobs and many of the residents are low income.

Specifically, she wondered why areas of the city like de Blasio’s former neighborhood of Park Slope aren’t getting large affordable housing developments.

A Rockaway civic leader took a different approach, saying that what the city is doing is in violation of President Barack Obama’s efforts to end racial housing policies. Cooper said building more low-income housing won’t help the community, but actually hurt it.

“This is segregation,” Cooper said. “They’re putting it here because it’s the easiest place to put it in.”

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