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Far Rockaway's $126M revitalization is close to being approved

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The rezoning will create 3,000 new apartments, over half of which will be affordable


Note: This article was originally published on August 21, 2017.

UPDATE 8/22/2017: Following the vote of the zoning and franchises committee, the City Council’s Land Use Committee also unanimously approved the rezoning of Far Rockaway, The Real Deal reports. The full Council will now vote on this rezoning on September 7.

The proposed rezoning of Far Rockaway is now just a couple of votes away from being approved. The City Council’s subcommittee on zoning and franchises unanimously approved the rezoning of the neighborhood, much to the delight of Council member Donovan Richards, who chairs that committee, represents Far Rockaway, and spearheaded the rezoning effort.

“The rezoning will really help rectify the compounding issues that have plagued this neighborhood for decades,” Richards said at the meeting. The Council subcommittee’s vote follows the approval by the City Planning Commission last month.

The meeting on Monday offered a little more insight into what this rezoning will look like. As plans stand right now, the revitalization of the neighborhood will lead to the creation of 3,000 new apartments, of which 1,700 will be affordable units, and be built within a new urban renewal area.

In addition to residential development, there’s a provision to create 250,000 square feet of retail, 90,000 square feet of community space, and a large amount of open, public space. There will be a lot of improvement to the local infrastructure as well, including a new school, and upgrades to the local parks. A local steering committee will be setup to monitor progress on the rezoning’s promises as well.

So far, $126 million in city funds have been committed to this rezoning effort. The vote today will be followed by another vote by the Council’s land use committee tomorrow. The full Council will vote on the rezoning after Labor Day.

“Through this plan, Downtown Far Rockaway is finally getting the investment it deserves, with new jobs and mixed-income housing, open space and community facilities,” James Patchett, the president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, said in a statement.