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What is the Resilient Edgemere Community Plan (the Plan) and why was it created?
The Resilient Edgemere Community Planning Initiative is an inter-agency, community-based effort to align New York City’s storm recovery and climate change resiliency investments in Edgemere with a long-term and comprehensive community vision for the neighborhood. Edgemere is physically vulnerable to coastal storms and sea level rise and has history of physical and financial distress. The community planning process began in 2015 with a unique opportunity to address these issues due to: significant damage from Hurricane Sandy and subsequent federal funding for recovery and coastal resiliency projects, a large share of the neighborhood’s vacant properties are City-owned, and Edgemere is an active Urban Renewal Area, allowing for the City’s additional land use authority.
The Resilient Edgemere Community Plan identifies a land use framework and set of strategies that will create resilient and affordable housing for a range of household incomes and sizes, expand retail and community facility offerings, mitigate current and future flood risk, increase waterfront open space and improve the coastal ecology. The Plan includes 60 discrete projects, representing hundreds of millions of dollars in planned investment over the next 10 years and beyond.
How were Edgemere residents involved in the creation of this plan?
The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) facilitated a four-phase planning process over the course of a year and a half. Before and during the engagement process, HPD hosted a series of interactive workshops for neighborhood residents and coordinated with the Edgemere Organizing Team, made up of community members and representatives from local organizations, to identify issues and ensure a broad, inclusive, and transparent process. Finally, HPD mailed a Community Feedback form to all 1,700 households in Edgemere and posted all workshop materials and findings online for public comment. This 18-month community planning process encouraged participation and collaboration in the formation of community goals and strategies, which the City developed into projects.
What is the status of the Plan implementation and how will the Plan’s implementation be tracked?
The plan’s various projects can be tracked through the Implementation Matrix in the Appendix of the Community Plan. All projects have an associated timeline and completion milestone that indicates whether a project has been completed, as well as their next steps. HPD has released a 2020 Progress Report on the Plan with an updated Implementation Matrix with status updates for all projects under the plan. Download the Progress Report here.
What implementation actions are proposed at this time?
HPD is proposing a rezoning and set of land use actions which will codify the land use framework established in the Plan and facilitate investment in affordable housing and expansion of neighborhood amenities. Different from other , the proposed actions would implement the Resilient Edgemere plan to create affordable housing and community amenities, primarily on City-owned vacant land, and are coupled with actions restricting future development capacity to mitigate long term exposure to coastal hazards.
HPD is also supporting the launch of a community land trust (CLT) in Edgemere through the identification of sites for this purpose, and issuing a call for CLT partners through a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI).
Is this a rezoning?
Yes, one part of the implementation of this plan includes rezoning and other land use actions. The proposed actions would implement the Resilient Edgemere plan to create affordable housing and community amenities, primarily on City-owned vacant land. These actions will add development capacity primarily to city-owned sites along the A Train corridor to expand amenities and affordable housing, and are coupled with actions restricting future development capacity to mitigate long term exposure to coastal hazards.
How will the community be involved in the design of the new buildings?
The City owns four sites along the proposed commercial corridor proposed for multi-family, mixed-use development. These four sites will be developed through HPD’s competitive RFP process.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) is a competitive process in which HPD calls for developers to submit project proposals that respond to a set of defined goals and guidelines that are informed by policy goals and feedback from the community. Non-profit and for-profit teams are eligible to apply and seek City financing for their proposals. HPD works together with development teams to ensure that projects are designed to meet the agency’s standards for quality construction and environmental sustainability. Before an RFP release, HPD gathers community input and priorities through Community Visioning Workshops. These workshops are held to inform future development in Edgemere and prioritize the unique needs of the community.
For whom will the new housing be affordable?
Though the income ranges and housing programs are not yet identified, affordable housing created through the development of City-owned land can be for a range of households - from homeless households, to extremely low-income (approximately $30,720 for a family of three), to moderate-income (approximately $81,920 for a family of three). Further details on affordability will become available after community visioning and the developers are selected through the RFP process. In addition to the multi-family RFP development sites, the Resilient Edgemere plan will include affordable homeownership opportunities through the development of a community land trust, for which HPD’s current programs accommodate homeowners at 80% AMI ($81,920 for a family of three) on public sites.
How does this plan relate to Arverne East?
Will the proposed land use actions and rezoning affect the NYCHA Beach 41st Street Houses?
The proposed rezoning does not directly affect the Beach 41st Street Houses. However, the amenities facilitated by the rezoning and related actions can benefit and be enjoyed by all residents of the neighborhood, including residents of Beach 41st Street Houses.
How does this Plan address flooding, coastal hazards and other impacts from climate change?
The Plan includes community-scale projects that will limit damage and disruption from flooding through a holistic, multilayered approach. These strategies include a coastal flood barrier (see U.S. Army Corps project below) and a long-term land use strategy that will limit future development in the most vulnerable locations, laying the groundwork for expanded open space and working in concert with the proposed coastal protection features. The establishment of a community land trust in Edgemere is intended to also support the collective capacity of residents to steward housing, land and social capital for community resiliency. All new housing built through the Plan must be elevated and comply with all NYC flood-resistant construction standards.
What is the status of the shoreline protection features?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will implement coastal protections for Edgemere through their Jamaica Bay Shoreline High Frequency Risk Reduction Features (HFRRFs) project. In Edgemere, this will include a combination of hard and green infrastructure designed to protect against nuisance flooding and small coastal storms, factoring in anticipated sea level rise over the next 50 years. Project components in Edgemere will include primarily berms and hybrid berms, rock sill structures, marsh restoration, and floodwalls. Preliminary design for this project began in late 2019. The Army Corps’ architectural engineering consultants initiated the design process in 2019.
The Army Corps Rockaways projects include coastal protection features on the beachside and are 100% federally funded, with the City responsible for operation and maintenance as well as funding any project elements beyond the Army Corps scope. Army Corps work on the Atlantic shoreline portions of the project began in September 2020.
What were the findings of the Edgemere Drainage Study? How has this impacted the proposal?
The Mayor’s Office of Resiliency (MOR), together with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), managed and conducted the Edgemere Drainage Study in 2019, with the help of an environmental engineering consultant. The study sought to understand the drainage impacts of sea level rise, high tide flooding, increased rainfall, and storm surge. The findings revealed that, in addition to coastal flood hazards, the area’s low-lying topography, high groundwater table, and sea level rise will lead to increased flood risk over time, even on a sunny day and particularly in the portions of the neighborhood north of Beach Channel Drive.
Based on these findings, the City updated the proposed land use strategy to remove additional City-owned vacant lots from housing development and is instead reserving them for future potential open space or drainage infrastructure. Additionally, HPD worked with DCP to craft proposed zoning measures to limit development in the most vulnerable areas.
What is the City doing in Edgemere to address health threats and economic impacts from the Coronavirus pandemic?
The Edgemere community is currently facing the repercussions of an unprecedented public health crisis and related economic effects due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will do our best to provide information and access to supportive resources in this outreach and on the project website. We have adjusted our engagement tactics to maintain deep community involvement as this work continues, both online and offline (and we welcome your input on these outreach strategies). We hope that through this outreach and with the holistic strategies of the Plan, we can be responsive to the needs of the Edgemere community and understand how City resources can be guided toward equitable and just recovery from this pandemic.
Will there be new retail and commercial in Edgemere? Why can’t we create more commercial and business opportunity without new housing?
Yes. The proposed rezoning and land use actions will make it possible to expand commercial opportunities within mixed-use developments. By incorporating the commercial components within the mixed-use housing developments, the development can leverage this investment to support the creation of the commercial spaces. Additionally, nearby development projects at Beach Green Dunes Phases 2 and 3, and Arverne East will bring new retail including a café, local brewery, and other retail. Unfortunately it is financially challenging to build standalone commercial spaces.
If you are building so much housing, will there be a new school, health care or other community facility?
This plan reserves a site for a school on the southern portion of the block along Rockaway Beach Boulevard, between Beach 39th and Beach 40th Streets. There is opportunity to expand community facility offerings through the development of larger multi-family, mixed use sites along the transit-oriented corridor. HPD will work with the community to define the desired facilities and then work with developers and appropriate agencies to try to incorporate these desired uses into the developments.
How will additional demands on traffic and parking be addressed?
The traffic demands will be studied in an Environmental Impact Study (EIS). See the Draft Scope of Work for the Resilient Edgemere Initiative Rezoning for more information on the EIS.
Additionally, in 2019 DOT released a long term transportation plan for Eastern Rockaway, with extensive community engagement. The Access to Opportunity: Housing & Transportation Study lays out the long term vision for mobility and transportation in the area. The study lists various capital improvement projects, which the City is progressing to implement that vision over time.
What’s the timeline for this plan? What happens next?
The rezoning and land use actions require approval through the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), as well as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the impacts of the proposal. We plan to certify the land use actions into the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process in Spring of 2021. In early 2021, we also plan to release a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to identify a community land trust partner. Design and pre-development of City-owned sites will occur over the next several years.
How will the community be involved in the implementation?
Community members can submit formal feedback regarding the environmental impact of the zoning proposals this fall at the Public Scoping hearing before ULURP. In addition to participating in the CEQR and ULURP public review processes, HPD will invite feedback through online and offline strategies regarding the launch of a community land trust and future development of City-owned land. We invite the community to also give feedback on our approaches to future engagement as the COVID pandemic evolves. Through the website, community members can check on initiative updates, future public events, and provide feedback on current strategies, including the CLT initiative.