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Sunnyside's Parking Lot-Replacing Housing Faces Stiff Opposition

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Locals are opposed to the loss of parking spots, and the height of the building

CLARIFICATION: Phipps Houses owns the parking lot property it intends to develop, and needs to rezone the area from manufacturing to residential to move forward. The environmental review showed the project would have no significant impacts on parking in the neighborhood. Currently half the spots are used by tenants, and the other half by trucks. With the new project, there will be an attended parking lot with approximately half of the spaces for locals to use.

A Sunnyside, Queens affordable housing project is facing stiff opposition from locals, and one of their representatives, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has vowed not to support the project in its current state, Politico reports.

In March this year, affordable housing developer, Phipps Houses announced plans for a 200-unit plus affordable housing project that would replace an existing parking lot at 50-25 Barnett Avenue. The building would stand about seven or eight stories tall on the portion overlooking Barnett Avenue, and then rise to about 10 stories in the rear.

There are also plans for a 4,000 square foot community facility and 200 parking spaces, and the apartments would be rented to people making between 50 and 130 percent of the area median income.

The plan has been supported by the de Blasio administration as well as the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, but Van Bramer and local residents are opposed to the height of the building as well as the fact that it will take away valuable parking spots.

While presenting plans to the City Planning Commission, the CEO of Phipps Houses told the commission that an environmental review of the area (conducted for the project) had revealed that only half the parking spots were used anyway.

But the local community board had previously rejected this project for taking away those parking spots, in addition to being out of character with the height of other buildings in the area. Van Bramer also raised concerns about the lack of unionized labor being used for the project, but the developer has yet to commit one way or the other.

Representatives for the mayor and developer insist that they are willing to continue discussions on the project to reach a solution.