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Proposed Two Tower, 561-Unit Woodside Development Gets Major Blow as Councilman Pans It

Perkins Eastman Architects via Department of City Planning

May 16, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

A developer’s plan to build a two-tower, 561-unit development along Queens Boulevard in Woodside has received a major blow as Council Member Robert Holden, who represents the district where the project would be located, expressed opposition to it earlier this week.

Holden, before a crowd of angry area residents at a Monday town hall, bashed a proposed rezoning put forth by Madison Realty Capital that would allow for 17 and 14 story towers to rise at 69-02 Queens Blvd., claiming the development is simply too large and would wreak havoc on the neighborhood’s quality of life on multiple fronts.

“This is really kind of counterproductive, isn’t it? It’s not proper city planning,” Holden said to a crowd of about 100 attendees. “I have serious reservations about this.”

Holden’s opposition to the proposal, currently undergoing a lengthy public review process, including stops at Community Board 2 and the Queens Borough President, could indicate that it will be rejected once it reaches the City Council, where other council members are likely to side with Holden’s vote, as is custom.

Residents at a Monday town hall to discuss the proposed project at 69-02 Queens Blvd.

Holden claims the project, which would take up nearly the entire block between between 69th and 70th streets, would see multiple families with children moving into its hundreds of units and exacerbate a school overcrowding crisis in the district.

He added that while 85 percent of the units would be either studios or one-bedrooms, the development would not deter families from renting them.

Holden, who said he was opposed to the 2006 plan that allowed for higher buildings along parts of Queens Boulevard, including at the proposed site, said he was “still waiting for some good answers” from the developers on his and other resident concerns.

The developers, who are asking for an increased height allowance in exchange for making 30 percent of the units affordable, can build up to 289 market rate units on the property as of right.

“I wasn’t for the upzoning of Queens Boulevard…but certainly we want to keep them to the zone. Here, they’re just going much larger, much bigger,” Holden said. “So I do have some questions.”

Town hall attendees largely echoed Holden’s concerns, with comments overwhelmingly focusing on further school overcrowding as a result of the development,  and added strain to what residents say is an overburdened neighborhood in terms of traffic, public transit, and beyond.

Joy Pendergast, a Woodside resident whose children attend the nearby P.S. 229, said the school already had to get rid of an entire grade to make space. Even with the change, the school still seats over 1,400 students.

“How do you promise a community that an amazing school will not be further burdened because there are way too many kids to fit in the building?” she asked the developers. “You got all this space—put a school in it. You wanna help our community? Use that space for a school, because we are maxed out.”

Ross Moskowitz, an attorney representing Madison Realty Capital, however, said their environmental analysis shows the project would not have a threshold issue with school seats because of its mixture of studio to 2-bedroom units.

But Jo Ann Berger, a member of District 24’s Community Education Council, said the developer’s environmental analysis on school seats was wrong. Just one child in each apartment of the proposed project, she said, would bring PS. 229 to over 150 percent capacity.

“What you are doing and proposing to do is criminal to our children’s education,” Berger said. “It should be illegal.”

Other residents worried about the current “nightmare” traffic on 69th street, and what it would look like with the development in place, which calls for 250 parking spots for residents.

“How do you deal with the traffic from 561 units onto Queens Boulevard?” asked Raymond Lee, a neighborhood resident. “There’s just no room…I don’t think these folks are aware of that.”

The developers said their project is “by no means what happens at the end of the day,” and depends on what the recommendations from the board, city council, and beyond are.

The proposal will be voted on by Community Board 2 in its June full board meeting, where the project will then go to the Queens Borough President and City Planning Commission before reaching the City Council.

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19 Comments

CG

You cannot stop progress – sunnyside is on the train line to the big town, so it is only natural the wave of revitalization will spread out there. What the council should be calling for is the construction of family sized units where families might actually be able to afford to live for more than a few years – then the schools will get built and will get better and better with each graduating class as it does in other gentrified communities. Queens boulevard is far from quaint or picturesque – it could use some upgrading modernization and influx of younger blood.




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Woodside Mom

These developers are asking for a zoning variance so they can build much higher then current zoning would allow. There is no reason to grant them the variance.




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John O'Reilly

Joe Crowley’s handpicked City Council President Corey Johnson has declared that individual Council members will no longer have veto power over projects in their districts. Given that Member Holden is a Republican who won on the Democratic Party and he beat Joe Crowley’s cousin Elizabeth, there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell this project will be voted down by the City Council. Look for all approvals in hand for the maximum size building by Labor Day.




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John O’Reilly

You’re right Joe, I mixed it up. Given that Elizabeth Crowley started campaigning for her old seat the day after the election, no one is going to be doing Bob Holden any favors.




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LIC Concerned

Robert Holden for Mayor!!! Man if it would have been JVB, he would stick out his hand ready for his campaign contribution and developer handout. Robert Holden is representing his constituents. Boy do we need a councilman with pants to stand up to these developers and homeless hotel operators in CB2.




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MKC

Pardon me, but JVB incurred major mayoral disapproval when he blocked a 10-story development on Barnett Avenue because his constituents complained long and hard.




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LIC Neighbor

Yeah MKC because it was in the gardens in his own his back yard, near his home that’s why he opposed the Phipps Barnett Ave Project, then he screws us over the residents of the south side of the blvd, Blissville and other parts LIC with the build up of homeless hotels throughout the neighborhood. He’s a good for nothing politician, his primary function is raising money to get reelected.




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E

That’s only because it’s near his home , and would make him wake up to early.




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fdsafsdaf

Reminder that artificially restricting the housing supply increases rents.

Blocking these developments just means more people fighting over fewer apartments.




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mediawatcher

If it were up to Holden and his gang of “angry” Middle Village NIMBY’s, Queensborough Blvd. would still be a dirt road, the 7 train would have never been built, and zoning restrictions would limit building height to one story…maximum!




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Me

Please stop wasting time with these political issues, and focus on the crime and lowlife thug population increase in our neighborhood. These are big corporate issues, nothing we say or do will make a difference. How come we never see cops on patrol, unless they are in their cruisers zipping through streets blaring their rumblers waking up kids etc, weather is getting better (except today) so they can start walking around a bit.




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Tommy O

Me- You obviously lack the capacity to see how quality of life issues such as over crowded schools, roads and public transportation systems impact who will be living in the neighbor. These are not just “big corporate issues” they are issues that affect peoples lives, health, property values, insurance rates, education, livelihood etc and require community input. If you want a community blog that addresses only crime, develop your own blog, nobody is stopping you from starting one. A community blog deals with all issues that affect the community not just crime.




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A.Bundy

thumbs up, but in all seriousness, i’d never use quality of life as a descriptive subject in NYC. mainly because there is zero quality of life. summers are hot and extremely humid and unbearable!




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Sunnysider

I wouldn’t trust crimes stats too much. There are numerous cases of under reporting to fudge the numbers to get a promotion.




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silent majority

Sunnysider in 1000% right. The PD is instructed to under report crime to simple ticket offenses and felonies to petty misdemeanors coming from the top meaning Mayor Deblasio( that shady criminal). The affordable housing is just a way for them to get a tax abatement. The section process is run by the Realty company and rubber stamped by the city. As long as the paperwork is there its a done deal no fact checking done at all.




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