“Responsible Development That Queens Can Be Proud Of”

QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz, former Chair of the City Council Land Use Committee, stated the following in response to questions about the Committee’s approval this afternoon of the Astoria Cove project’s rezoning application:

“The modified Astoria Cove proposal is consistent with Queens’ commitment to responsible development and is now closer to par with many of our chief concerns, namely housing, transit options and skilled labor. Once built, this project will become a landmark accomplishment that we can be proud of here in the Borough of Queens.

“Chief among the changes that I and other stakeholders had sought was an increase in the affordable housing units. The developer’s agreement to increase the share to 27 percent from the original 20 percent is a marked improvement that will help us better meet critical needs as well as the Mayor’s mandate for such housing for lower and middle-income New Yorkers in the area.

“We had also sought alternative transportation modes that would help relieve at-capacity mass transit service and already-congested roadway networks in the vicinity. The $5 million commitment for construction of a new ferry dock in Astoria is a smart way to capitalize on the area’s waterfront access and enhance local commuter options.

“Also encouraging was the agreement reached last night between the developer and labor to use the most skilled and professional workers under prevailing wage standards, which will ensure the quality, durability and safety of the project’s construction.

“I’d like to express my gratitude to Community Board 1 and especially to Councilmember Costa Constantinides for his leadership, stewardship and tenacity with the negotiations and ensuring real community benefits to our constituents. I am proud to support the Land Use Committee’s approval of the Astoria Cove project’s rezoning application, as amended.”

Earlier this year, Borough President Katz recommended disapproval of the original Astoria Cove rezoning application due to concerns with what she saw as insufficiencies in the proportion of affordable housing units, alternative mass transit option investments, skilled labor commitments and school construction timeline.

Notable dates:
July 17, 2014 – Borough President Katz holds Public Hearing on Proposed Astoria Cove Project
July 31, 2014 – Borough President Katz rejects developer’s original proposal, issues set of recommendations
October 20, 2014 – Borough President Katz delivers testimony at City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and
Franchises Hearing