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Staten Island’s Bay Street rezoning clears major City Council hurdle

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The plan includes $92M for the long-awaited Lyons Pool complex

Staten Island’s north shore
Max Touhey

A proposal to rezone part of Staten Island’s north shore won support from a crucial City Council subcommittee Thursday—clearing a key hurdle on its way to becoming the de Blasio administration’s sixth neighborhood rezoning.

The city-initiated proposal seeks to bring a boom of apartments, retail, and office space to a 14 block-stretch known as the Bay Street corridor, which runs through Tompkinsville and Stapleton. Council member Debi Rose had given tentative support for the project, provided it include certain commitments. On Thursday, she fully backed the plan and touted a $250 million package of investments secured for the area.

“I believe we have reached a plan that will meet the needs of our neighborhoods, but more importantly will be a roadmap to a new investment in and create vital opportunities for the future of our borough,” said Rose before the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises vote.

City planners project the rezoning will spur 1,800 new apartment on the corridor—up to 673 units would be set aside at below-market-rate rents—to house some 6,500 residents on the corridor, which is currently zoned for mostly manufacturing uses. Under the plan, developers will have the option to either allow 25 percent of a given building’s rents at about $1,441/month for a family of three earning an average of $57,660 or less, or to set aside 20 percent of a building’s units at an average rent of $961/month for households making $38,440 or less.

The proposal is advancing on to the City Council’s Land Use Committee without work force housing, which would have create apartments with rents up to $3,169/month for a family of three with a maximum income of $126,765, THE CITY first reported.

Big wins for the north shore include a commitment to build a new Cromwell Recreation Center, a 3.5-acre complex on a pier that is all but demolished. And a $92 million pledge to build a community center at Tompkinsville’s Lyons Pool complex. The funds for the new space will be allocated in the 2020 fiscal year budget and the center is expected to open its doors to the community by 2025, according to Rose.

Other commitments include 12 acres of waterfront esplanade, new sewer infrastructure, streetscape improvements, and two new schools and an annex for an existing elementary school.

“The road was long, but with guidance and input from my constituents and many stakeholders, I have secured the necessary funding and commitments for the next chapter of the story of the north shore,” Rose said Thursday. “For too long planning on Staten Island has been haphazard or non-exinsistant. Today before us, we have a blueprint for a well planned future.”

For years, community advocates have pushed for greater improvements to the area’s infrastructure and transportation to ease the burden a new spike in population will place on the area. Throughout the process, Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo, who backed the work force housing option, has maintained that the rezoning is a “boondoggle” and has implored the de Blasio administration for a deeper investment in the area’s infrastructure prior to the rezoning. In a statement, Oddo charged that the current package of neighborhood commitments won’t be able to meet the demands of a surge of new residents.

“What you won’t see in this rezoning announcement is as critically important as what you do see,” Oddo said in a statement. “You won’t see any genuine effort to stop the already awful traffic and transit reality from getting exponentially worse, let alone being mitigated to some degree.”