Proposed Rockaway development makes waves at public hearing

Edgmere on the Rockaway Peninsula.  Photo by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons

Edgmere on the Rockaway Peninsula. Photo by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons

By Rachel Vick

Requests by representatives of a proposed development plan for the former Peninsula Hospital site in Edgemere generated controversy and backlash during Thursday’s land use hearing at Queens Borough Hall

The development is intended to serve a community and commercial space with food, retail, recreation and open spaces. The plan also features new residential buildings that will include affordable housing.

The site, located between Beach 50th to Beach 53rd Street off Beach Channel Drive in Edgemre, requires several major regulation and zoning changes.

The officials backing the plan made their requests after Community Board 14 voted against the proposal, despite general community support.

The project would also require a map change to allow for the creation of several through-streets, walkways and easier access to the facilities.

Another regulatory concern related to the limit on posted signage; the plan representatives requested an extension to accommodate a planned Western Beef supermarket.

Several community members attended the meeting and discussed the plan for roughly an hour. The item was moved to the top of the agenda in order to enable people to get to work later in the morning and to create space in the overcrowded conference room

Concerns from the community included lack of infrastructure to support the projected exponential population growth, already overcrowded schools and insufficient public transportation. Residents also questioned the size of the project and the construction of so many residential units. 

Representatives from the community were divided on the project. Many proponents of the project were young people of color. They suggested that opponents were outliers and not a true indication of how the community felt. They said that this project is a boost that the neighborhood desperately needs.

“We appreciate the involvement of young people,” said Katz. “It’s great to see [them] getting involved in the process here.”

Katz followed public comments with several clarifying questions for the group, and mentioned the likelihood of including a stipulation requiring preschools in the facility to alleviate the school congestion.

Aufgang Architects previously worked on the nearby Beach Channel senior living community. 

The land use hearing also considered several applications for “physical cultural establishments.” That designation referred to two OrangeTheory gyms and a swimming pool