Tag Archives: City Council

City Council approves tax breaks for fully affordable Edgemere housing project


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP

The City Council approved Wednesday a Housing Preservation and Development Department grant for a 40-year property tax exemption that will allow the construction of a fully affordable 101-unit planned project in Edgemere.

The project, called Beach Green North, will be located on vacant land at 45-05 Rockaway Beach Blvd., and will be 100 percent affordable thanks in part to the tax break. It is being co-developed by Bluestone Organization in conjunction with L+M Development Partners and Triangle Equities.

The planned seven-story building will have more than 93,000 square feet of living space and about 500 square feet for commercial space, according to filings with the Buildings Department. There will also be a total of 35 parking spaces in the building, which was designed by Curtis + Ginsberg Architects and GDSNY.

Half of the building’s units will be for families making 60 percent or less of the area median income, according to reports. Developers are hoping to break ground on the project in the summer.

Beach Green North will be built with the use of bioswales and pervious asphalt to maximize stormwater retention, which will help prevent sewer system overflows. The building will also make use of energy-saving features and amenities to enhance resiliency against big storms, such as Sandy, which devastated the Rockaways.

Councilman Donovan Richards was pleased with those features of the project in addition to its affordability.

Beach Green North

“This plot of land has been left desolate for decades, but it will now feature housing that offers greater comfort for occupants and an enhanced level of survivability in case another catastrophic storm hits the peninsula again in the future,” Richards said. “This is a great victory for a community of working-class New Yorkers and as further developments come to fruition, I will continue to fight to ensure that the Rockaways remain a place for working families to live, work and thrive.”

The project will be the first development on vacant Edgemere beachfront property.

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David Weprin won’t run for brother’s City Council seat


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photos

There won’t be another Weprin switcheroo at City Hall.

Assemblyman David Weprin ruled out a run last week for the City Council seat that his brother, Mark Weprin, will vacate soon in order to become Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s deputy secretary of legislative affairs, according to a spokesperson for the assemblyman. David Weprin will instead seek re-election in 2016.

The Weprin brothers previously traded legislative seats. David Weprin occupied the 23rd City Council seat for eight years before making a failed run for city comptroller in 2009. Mark Weprin — then occupying the Assembly seat previously held by their late father, Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin — ran for and won his brother’s City Council seat.

After Mark Weprin stepped down from the Assembly to become city councilman, David Weprin won his brother’s and his father’s former Assembly seat in a 2010 special election.

Many observers believed David Weprin would jump at the chance of returning to City Hall after Mark Weprin announced his resignation from the City Council on May 11. According to the New York Observer, David Weprin told supporters on May 14 he would stay in Albany, noting that he was recently promoted to the Assembly’s leadership by current Speaker Carl Heastie.

“I’ve decided that I plan on running for re-election to the Assembly,” David Weprin was quoted in the Observer article. “I’ve enjoyed what I’ve accomplished so far in the Assembly. I think I have a lot more to do. I’ve developed a lot of seniority in a short time — a lot of people have left.”

Once Mark Weprin’s City Council resignation takes effect, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to call a special non-partisan election to be held within the following 60 days. Each candidate must obtain their own ballot line; political parties cannot nominate a candidate, but may make endorsements.

Former Assemblyman and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik already confirmed his interest in the race. Other potential candidates include Dominic Panakal, chief-of-staff to Councilman Rory Lancman; attorney Ali Najmi; and former City Council candidates Bob Friedrich and Steven Behar.

The 23rd Council seat covers all or parts of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hollis Park Gardens, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

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Councilman Weprin to leave seat for Cuomo administration


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/file photo

Updated Tuesday, May 12, 12:35 p.m.

Councilman Mark Weprin gave his two weeks’ notice to the people of his district Monday, as he announced his departure from the City Council to take a job with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Weprin, 53, who has served in the 23rd Council District seat since 2010, is poised to become Cuomo’s deputy secretary of legislative affairs. He didn’t set a specific date when he would leave office, but in a statement, Weprin indicated his resignation would take effect “within the next two weeks.”

Prior to his City Council election, Weprin served for 15 years in the state Assembly, holding the seat previously held by his late father, former Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin. Mark Weprin was elected to the City Council seat in 2009 to succeed his brother, David, who made an unsuccessful run for City Comptroller.

David Weprin then won a special election in 2010 for his brother’s and father’s former Assembly seat.

“It has been an honor to represent eastern Queens as an elected official for 21 years,” Mark Weprin said in a statement Monday morning. “It has been my privilege to serve the people and families of my neighborhood. I am proud to have helped the communities I have represented to continue to be wonderful places to live, work and raise a family.”

At the start of his second City Council term, Mark Weprin was elected in January 2014 as chair of the City Council’s Queens delegation. He was also named chair of the Zoning and Franchises Committee and serves on the Land Use, Education, Economic Development, Oversight and Investigations, and Technology committees.

As deputy secretary for legislative affairs, Mark Weprin will reportedly serve as a liaison between Cuomo and leaders of the Assembly and state Senate on various matters.

“I have known Governor Cuomo for most of my life, and he is a leader of incredible talent,” Weprin added. “I look forward to this next step in my public career.”

Once the councilman’s resignation takes effect, the mayor must call for a non-partisan special election to be held within 60 days. Each candidate must secure their own party line; the established political parties cannot nominate a candidate of their own, but they may make an endorsement.

The 23rd Council District includes all or parts of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hollis Park Gardens, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

As for who may replace Weprin in the City Council, one contender has already emerged — former Assemblyman and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik. He confirmed his interest in running for the seat in a phone interview with The Courier on Tuesday.

Other potential contenders, as reported in the New York Observer, include Dominic Panakal, chief-of-staff to Councilman Rory Lancman; local attorney Ali Najmi; civic activist and former City Council candidate Bob Friedrich; and former City Council and Assembly candidate Steve Behar.

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New renderings for Hallets Point development revealed


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy Dattner Architects

Renderings and details for the first building of the Durst Organization’s Hallets Point development project in Astoria were revealed.

The structure will consist of two 20-story structures emerging from a podium, as reported by New York YIMBY. The Dattner Architects-designed buildings will feature views of the waterfront and a large-scale rooftop space for residents. The first structure has a 2017 opening date.

The overall 2.5-million-square-foot Hallets Point project includes 2,400 units with 483 affordable apartments in multiple residential buildings, with retail space, a supermarket, a school and a public waterfront promenade.

Durst purchased a controlling interest in the project from Lincoln Equities Group, the original developer, for more than $100 million last year. The company paid $15 million for the final parcel of land at 1-02 26th Ave. which it needed for the huge project, according to city records filed in February.

The Hallets Point project is one of two mega developments on the Astoria waterfront. The other, called Astoria Cove, was passed by the City Council last year. It includes more than 1,700 units, of which 27 percent will be affordable housing.

New Hallets Point renderings 1
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Fired trash hauler workers win back their Maspeth jobs


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Teamsters Joint Council No. 16

Two private sanitation workers fired last Friday for testifying before the City Council’s Sanitation Committee got their jobs back Monday morning thanks to community and labor pressure on the company that let them go.

City Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who is the Sanitation Committee chair, held a press conference this morning in front of Five Star Carting’s location on Thames Street in Brooklyn in support of Michael Bush and Carlton Darden, the fired workers.

The conference was to have taken place in front of Five Star’s location on 47th Street in west Maspeth, but was moved to Brooklyn after the company organized a counteractive rally among its own supporters.

During a City Council hearing held last Wednesday, Darden and Bush testified about the problems in their industry, from low wages for long hours to dangerous working conditions. Both were subsequently given their notice by Five Star for speaking out against the company.

Federal labor law protects workers from retaliation for speaking publicly about their working conditions.

“These workers never deserved to be fired for speaking out—it was both illegal and unacceptable—so I am glad they are back to work,” Reynoso said. “It really speaks to the fact that the commercial waste industry desperately needs to be reformed. I am proud to join with the brave sanitation workers and to stand up for good jobs, worker protections and the right to free speech.”

Representatives from local labor unions joined the lawmaker in supporting Bush and Darden.

“New Yorkers have learned two things this week: Five Star Carting does not respect its workers or their free speech rights, but also that when workers, community members and elected officials stand together, we win,” said Sean Campbell, president of Teamsters Local 813. “The campaign for justice for sanitation workers is not over. From Maspeth to City Hall, we will keep fighting for good wages, worker safety and a clean environment.”

Allan Henry, an organizer for the Teamsters, said that after speaking out against Five Star Carting and their working conditions, Bush and Darden were told to sign papers deeming them terminated before they could receive their paychecks.

“Now they both have their jobs back, but this is the type of working conditions and the type of retaliation these workers are dealing in this industry,” Henry said.

Anthony Tristani, president of Five Star Carting, claimed that Bush and Darden were never fired from the company.

“Neither one was ever terminated,” he said in a phone interview. “Michael Bush was scheduled to come in yesterday.”

Tristani said that after the rally, Bush came into the Maspeth location and asked to use a sick day to cover the shift that he missed, which he was granted. Darden is scheduled to work tonight.

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Controversial Bayside elementary school to start construction this summer


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy the Department of Education 

The School Construction Authority is collecting bids to find a company to construct a controversial four-story, 468-seat elementary school in Bayside on the former Keil Brothers Garden Center and Nursery site.

The school, P.S. 332, will cost between $46.2 to $48.6 million and should be open for students from pre-K through fifth grade in September 2017, according to a Department of Education representative. Although a specific time wasn’t given, construction on the nearly 80,500-square-foot facility is expected to start in the late summer, the spokesperson said.

Dozens of residents held a rally two years ago in front of the site at 210-07 48th Ave. to protest the new school. Homeowners nearby said it would impact parking and present dangerous traffic problems for students.

The City Council gave the green light for the project in November 2013 after a vote. Councilmen Mark Weprin and Peter Vallone Jr. were the only legislators who voted against it. However, state Sen. Tony Avella, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and Community Board 11 also opposed the project.

Supporters of the plan said it would relieve congestion from the district’s schools, which, like schools in many other parts of the borough, are suffering from overcrowding.

That could be the reason why the size of the proposed school inflated over the years. Original plans were for a 456-student institution.

Construction companies have until May 22 to submit their bids.

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Participatory budgeting extends to more Queens council districts


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photos

Residents in nine Queens City Council districts will be given the power this year to decide where and how their tax dollars will be spent in their communities.

Last spring, community members in three Queens council districts – Councilman Mark Weprin’s District 23, Councilman Donovan Richard’s District 31 and Councilman Eric Ulrich’s District 32 – were given the opportunity to vote on community projects that would benefit from one million dollars of each council member’s capital discretionary funds.

This year joining those three districts are six new Queens council districts including Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras’ District 21, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz’s District 29, Councilman I. Daneek Miller’s District 27, Councilman Paul Vallone’s District 19, Councilman Costa Constantinides’ District 22 and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s District 26.

The overall process begins in the fall when residents suggest ideas and choose budget delegates during public meetings. Those volunteers then develop proposals based on the suggestions which are presented to the public before the voting occurs.

Voting this year will take place between April 11 and April 19 and each voter, ages 16 and up, can chose up to five projects. A total of 24 council members throughout the city are participating in this year’s voting.

“Participatory budgeting has been rewarding for our entire district. This entire process has featured ideas generated by members of the community,” Constantinides said. “It has provided an opportunity for residents to become engaged with the civic process through events and meeting. Everyone has shared their common love of their neighborhood and become more interconnected.”

Projects being voted on in Constantinides’ district include renovations at local schools, such as sound proofing P.S. 122’s cafeteria, redesigning the streetscape on Newtown Avenue between 32nd and 22rd streets to construct a pedestrian plaza, turning unused lots into dog runs in Astoria and Jackson Heights, and renovating the basketball court at the Astoria Houses.

In Councilman Miller’s district, residents will be able to vote on 23 projects which include improvements at local parks, technology upgrades at schools and enhancing cultural facilities such as upgrading the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.

The $1 million in projects that residents in District 19 can vote on include creating a $400,000 state-of-the-art music studio at Bayside High School, funding three NYPD security cameras, and installing real time passenger countdown clocks along the Q12 and Q13 bus routes.

“With a wide range of voting locations throughout northeast Queens, we encourage and hope to see everyone come out and vote for the projects that they believe will have the best impact on the community,” Vallone said.

In District 23, voters can choose projects such as upgrades to the Queens Village and North Hills libraries, fitness equipment at Alley Pond Park, technology upgrades at local schools and portable security cameras at three sites.

Residents in Councilman Ulrich’s district that encompasses Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park can vote on projects such as renovating the Forest Park Dog Park, refurbishing the 9/11 memorial in Forest Park and installing emergency call boxes in Forest Park. For residents living in the councilman’s district in the Rockaway peninsula, projects include a $500,000 repair of center medians along Cross Bay Boulevard, upgrades to local schools, and the construction of a rock climbing wall in Rockaway Beach adjacent to the new boardwalk.

For more information on the projects and where to vote, click here.

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Public transit advocates expand coalition for express bus service in Queens


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Updated March 3, 1 p.m. 

With express bus service set to be created on routes between Flushing and Jamaica and along Woodhaven Boulevard this year, a coalition of public transit advocates backing the plan is expanding its efforts to win the hearts and minds of Queens community members.

As the city moves ahead with plans to create what’s known as Select Bus Service, the Department of Transportation is holding workshops to gather input from community members living in areas that would be affected by the new bus service. Often these meetings are attended by an overwhelming majority of people who are opposed to Select Bus Service.

But a coalition of transit advocates — BRT  for NYC — recently enlisted interest groups like New York Immigration Coalition to help raise awareness in communities that would benefit from faster bus travel times. They ultimately want to influence the city’s plans to speed up travel time for commuters who depend on buses.

“People who are afraid of this are going to fight harder than people who will benefit from it,” said Joan Byron, a member of the Pratt Center, which is part of the growing coalition.

During a meeting at Kew Gardens Hills last year, city officials were barraged by people opposed to any express bus service plans that would have taken away a lane of traffic from motorists and restricted it to buses only.

“You are wrecking our neighborhoods,” one woman said to a city official during the 2014 meeting. “You’re all morons. We do not want this.”

The community members worried that the city would remove a traffic lane on Main Street to allow express buses to whiz past rush hour traffic. But for Kew Gardens Hills residents, traffic lanes were more important than fast buses.

During a City Council hearing in February, transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced that the Q44 would be transformed into a Select Bus Service that will cut travel time, much like those that have already been created in Manhattan and Staten Island.

Plans for the Q44, which runs mostly along Main Street, include off-board fare collection, traffic lights that will stay green for buses and general infrastructure upgrades. The city also plans to create an express bus service called Bus Rapid Transit along Woodhaven Boulevard.

The coalition has enlisted 10 new groups to help what they, according to Byron, see as underprivileged communities living in areas that don’t have train access and have very limited bus access.

But with some of these new enlisted groups, like the Alliance for a Greater New York, Jess Nizar from Riders Alliance and others hope the pro-Select Bus Service side will get a boost with political influence.

“Without having a coalition these plans won’t reflect the needs of the people that need this the most,” Nizar said. “Sure, the city said they’re going to create SBS, but we don’t know what it will look like yet and we want people who benefit from this to give the city their input.”

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Bill could give tax credit to New Yorkers who adopt pets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


Fido might soon be able to pay you back for taking him out of a shelter.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras introduced to the City Council on Thursday a bill that would offer a $100 state tax credit to New Yorkers who have adopted a dog or cat from a shelter.

If the bill is taken up by the New York State Legislature and passed, it would make New York the first state to offer such a credit in the nation.

“Encouraging New Yorkers with a tax credit to adopt pets is not only compassionate but would bring relief to our overburdened animal shelters and to animal lovers who want to adopt but are weary of the initial costs,” Ferreras said. “In addition, the companionship of a pet has proven health and social benefits for adults and children.”

State Senator Kevin Parker is the prime sponsor of the bill in the state Senate.

“Councilwoman Ferreras’ resolution in support of my Senate bill S. 2894 provides a tax credit incentive to help offset adoption fees, vaccinations and initial pet care, significantly cutting the public cost of caring, feeding and providing medical care to pets that are often euthanized with an alternative and happier solution,” Parker said. “ Ferreras’ noteworthy resolution sets an example for other cities to do the same.”

According to statistics provided by the councilwoman, Animal Care & Control of New York City, the city’s contracted animal rescue organization, took in 29,809 cats and dogs between October 2013 and September 2014. Out of that number, over 6,100 were adopted.

“We have so many wonderful animals looking for loving homes each and every day, and welcome initiatives such as a pet tax credit that may encourage more New Yorkers to help make a difference for our city’s homeless cats and dogs,” said Risa Weinstock, executive director of Animal Care & Control.

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City plans to launch express bus service between Flushing and Jamaica this year


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

A planned express bus service that will run between Flushing and Jamaica is set to launch this year, according to city officials, who have included some measures to appease several communities that resisted the idea of designating lanes for buses only.

“Flushing and Jamaica are two of our key commercial centers, but traveling between them by subway means going in towards Manhattan and doubling back – and forget making the trip from the Bronx on the subway,” said Polly Trottenberg, commissioner of the Department of Transportation (DOT). “There are many destinations along this route not served by the subway system, such as Queens College and other key locations in the Bronx.”

During a City Council hearing on the citywide expansion of express buses, also called Select Bus Service, Trottenberg laid out a timeline to create a bus line that would connect the downtown areas of Flushing and Jamaica. She also said that in areas between the two destinations, bus-only lanes wouldn’t be created, respecting the wishes of many community members in areas like Kew Gardens Hills.

But Mike Sidell, a Kew Gardens Hills resident and community activist, remains skeptical because Trottenberg did not specify which communities would be spared the bus lane.

“We should hold them to the fire and get them to name all of the communities that won’t have the bus-only lanes,” Sidell said. “It looks like they’re giving us lip service, but it worries me that [Trottenberg] didn’t specifically name Kew Gardens Hills.”

Exclusive bus lanes are a common element of express bus lines, but residents in communities that live between Flushing and Jamaica resisted this idea because they feared it would create traffic back-ups by squeezing all the other traffic into only one lane.

The city appears to have responded to these residents by suggesting that bus-only lanes will be limited to areas where they are most needed, like the congested downtown Flushing area.

“Downtown Flushing and Jamaica are very different than places in between those neighborhoods,” Trottenberg said. “We’re going to have a long period of community engagement.”

The city plans to transform the Q44 into a Select Bus Service that will cut travel time, much like those that have already been created in Manhattan and Staten Island. Plans for the Q44, which runs mainly along Main Street, include off-board fare collection, traffic lights that will stay green for buses and general infrastructure upgrades.

The City Council hearing was held for testimony over a proposed bill that would require the DOT to develop a network of express buses that would stretch across the city and connect neighborhoods that have limited or no access to subways. The DOT already initiated express bus service plans on several routes, including Woodhaven Boulevard. And the hearing came soon after Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed for the expansion of express buses in his State of the City address.

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Police officers honored for saving man’s life in LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office

Two local police officers were honored Thursday for their heroic actions that saved a life in Long Island City last month.

Police Officers William Caldarera and Corey Sarro of the 108th Precinct were given a proclamation on behalf of the City Council for saving the life of a 66-year-old man who was found motionless in front of LaGuardia Community College in December.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio, presented the honor to Caldarera and Sarro.

On Dec. 16, the officers saw a crowd of people gathering around a man lying motionless on the sidewalk in front of the college. Caldarera approached the elderly man and discovered he did not have a heartbeat and was not breathing.

Sarro then began to conduct chest compressions, while an ambulance was requested. Using a defibrillator provided by a public safety officer, Caldarera and Sarro attached the machine to the man’s chest, according to police. After a second shock, the man’s heartbeat returned and he began breathing again.

The man was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.

Although both Caldarera and Sarro had experience with CPR while off duty, this incident was their first time having to use a defibrillator.

Both officers said it felt great once they were able to revive the man and get him to breathe again.

“There is really no feeling to describe it,” Sarro said at the time. “It was a relief to be able to save him.”

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Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer returns $20K of extra pay he gets for majority leader role


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

One local elected official is saying no thank you to a $20,000 annual stipend from the City Council.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, the second-highest ranking member of the Council as majority leader, has decided to return his annual stipend, also known as a lulu, to taxpayers. He is eligible for the extra pay, in addition to his $112,500 salary, for his leadership post.

“Returning my $20,000 stipend as majority leader of the New York City Council is the right thing to do for me,” Van Bramer said. “While donating the stipend to charity may be noble, not taking it at all is consistent with a pledge I made when I first ran for the City Council in 2009. I serve in government out of a desire to help others and to build up the people and the neighborhoods I serve. That is what drives me to work hard and it always will.”

Lulus are given to members of the City Council for leadership posts or committee assignments. According to the NY Daily News, 47 of 51 members are given the additional pay ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.

The other Queens lawmaker to renounce the extra pay was Councilman Rory Lancman, who declined $8,000, joining 10 other Council members in the other boroughs who decided not to take the money, the Daily News said.

Base pay for a member of the City Council was raised from $90,000 to $112,500 in 2006. But the job is technically part-time, allowing lawmakers to earn outside income.

Good government groups have argued that lulus undermine the independence of individual lawmakers because, they say, the committee posts are handed out by the City Council speaker based on loyalty or other political considerations.

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New cleaning initiative comes to Corona


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras' office

Corona will soon be shining brighter as a new cleaning initiative takes to the streets of the western Queens neighborhood.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras announced Friday the start of Cleanup NYC in the community. The $3.5 million City Council initiative allocated $70,000 to every district, including District 21, for street cleaning.

After receiving the allocation, Ferreras contracted the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) to oversee the cleaning services in Corona.

“Cleanup NYC is going to make Corona a better place to live and shop,” Ferreras said. “It’s about community, it’s about cleaning up our commercial districts and it’s about bringing young men who may not have had an opportunity in the past for them to know that here in this corner of Queens that we care about [them].”

(THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano)

(THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano)

Since December, a crew of five men who have completed ACE’s training programs have been sweeping, emptying trash cans and removing graffiti. The men, wearing neon yellow work vests, are out in the neighborhood five days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Our purpose here is greater than cleaning the streets, it’s also providing employment opportunities and vocation and rehabilitation opportunities to folks that struggle in this community,” said Jim Martin, executive director of ACE.

The cleanup, which will continue until June 30, takes place on 108th Street between Northern Boulevard and 37th Avenue; Corona Avenue from 104th Street to Otis Avenue; along 103rd Street from 37th to Nichols Avenue; and from 94th Street to 104th Street on 37th Avenue.

These boundaries were chosen based on a large number of requests made by constituents.

“You’d be surprised at the number of garbage-related injuries we treat. Children will fall on nails or their parents will get infected trying to clean dirt off the street where their children play,” said Helen Artiaga, director of Plaza del Sol Family Health Center, located at 37-16 108th St. “I was very excited when I heard we’d get additional cleaning in the area.”

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Another Astoria waterfront warehouse for sale, likely to become condos


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Massey Knakal

The owner of another Astoria waterfront site with potential for a large development could sell the property for four times its last selling price as the neighborhood continues its hot streak.

The property at 30-55 Vernon Blvd., which Eastone 26 Ave LLC bought for $8.2 million last year, is now up for sale again and there have been offers of around $35 million, said Stephen Preuss of real estate firm Massey Knakal, which is marketing the site.

At that price, the property would trade for nearly $230 per buildable square foot, which would rank among the top land prices in Astoria. This would mean that prospective owners would most likely focus on a residential development to cover the purchase price and maximize profits, Preuss said.

Currently, a warehouse and parking lot occupy the 37,116-square-foot site, enough to erect a structure with 140,665 buildable square feet.

If air rights from the adjacent residential properties were purchased or a rezoning occurred, the property could have up to 220,000 buildable square feet, Preuss said.

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

30-55 Vernon Blvd. Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

Preuss imagined the best use for the site would be a mixed-use development with ground-floor retail, an office or event space on the second floor, and condos on the remaining floors.

“This area is quickly emerging, and the site holds immediate value with its waterfront location along with the benefit of several local mega-projects underway,” Preuss said.

The Astoria waterfront has been scorching hot recently with planned projects like the enormous Astoria Cove, which received the green light from the City Council last month, and the Durst Organization’s Hallets Point project.

Rendering courtesy of 2030 Astoria Developers

Astoria Cove. Rendering courtesy of 2030 Astoria Developers

In addition to those projects, construction is planned next year for a glassy 77-condo building by developer New York Lions Group not far from the waterfront.

Also, in October, developer Shibber Khan paid $57 million for a waterfront site at 11-12 30th Dr., which has 460,000 buildable square feet. It is located just a block south of the Eastone 26 Ave LLC property.

Rendering courtesy of New York Lions Group

Rendering courtesy of New York Lions Group

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Bill introduced to City Council calling for term limits for community boards


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A new bill that was set to be introduced in the City Council Wednesday calls for putting term limits on community board members appointed in mid-2016 or later.

Councilman Daniel Dromm, who is one of the initial sponsors of the bill, was set to introduce legislation in the Council’s Government Operations Committee that would establish term limits for community board members.

Currently under law there is no limit to the number of consecutive two-year terms board members could either be appointed to or serve.

If the new bill were to pass, those appointed for a first term starting April 1, 2016, or after would only be allowed to serve twelve years, or six consecutive terms.

Under the proposed bill, a board member such as former Community Board 2 chair Joseph Conley would not have been able to serve the almost three decades he had under his belt.

Dromm told the Gotham Gazette that just how communities change, he believes community boards should, too. Although he “applauds” and thanks those who serve 30 or 40 years on a board, he added that he thinks they “need to move things around.”

Community boards have up to 50 voting members. Votes by community boards are non-binding, but they often carry influence with elected officials.

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