CB5 Land Use Votes For Ridgewood Apts.

BY LUIS GRONDA
Staff Writer

The Community Board 5 land use committee voted Monday night to recommend approval of the proposed Ridgewood luxury apartments.

After much discussion about the proposed apartments, planned for 176 Woodward Ave., the body voted 4 to 2, with one abstention, and the entire CB5 board will vote on the recommendation at their next meeting.

The apartments have been a source of controversy since developers presented the plan at last month’s CB5 meeting. Some residents are in favor because it would redevelop a site that is largely vacant and would bring needed housing and jobs to the community.

Concerns about the project that have been raised include the proposed rent for the apartments, as some residents feel it is too high for the area and other landlords may raise their rents to compete with that complex if it is built. Law enforcement was another concern mentioned at the meeting. Residents say that area is known to be frequented by prostitutes, trying to solicit clients, and that could continue even if the apartment complex is built.

The majority of residents were not shy about showing their support for the project.

Antonia Guzman, who lives on Starr Street in Ridgewood, said the new apartment would clean up the area and help the prostitution problem that plagues that part of Ridgewood. She said she and her daughter have been approached in the past by men, attempting to pick them up as prostitutes.

Another audience member, whose mother-in-law lives in the area, echoed Guzman’s sentiments, saying the people that Guzman described frequent the area on a daily basis.

“It’s like an eyesore that’s a magnet for those type of people,” the audience member said.

Others in attendance expressed concern that the rent for the new apartment building will boost prices of the surrounding apartments in order to compete with the complex. They said the price tag is too high for the neighborhood.

The prices for the apartments would be $1,100-$1,200 for a studio, $1,400-$1,600 for a one-bedroom and $1,700-$1,800 for a two-bedroom apartment. The developers are looking to change the zoning, from manufacturing to residential, to build the apartments.

Dan Schwartz, a representative from Aufgang Architects, the developer of the project, said the apartments will be rent stabilized because they applied for the 421 tax abatement.

Another idea for the site was proposed at the meeting, turning the area into part manufacturing, part residential. Instead of just an apartment building, it would change the zoning designation to allow for manufacturing on the first two floors and residential area on the next three floors.

Paul Kerzner, the CB5 member that proposed the idea, said it would be the best of both worlds and resolve everybody’s concern about the project.

Although many in attendance loved the idea, they immediately dismissed it because the proposed apartment building is so far along in the process that it would create problems starting from scratch.

The proposed 90,000-square-foot residential building will consist of 88 housing units, space for commercial retail on the ground floor and 118 spots designated for parking beneath the building.

CB5 will have voted on the proposal after press time, but the project still needs to go through the ULURP process as well as the City Council before it gets the green light.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, lgronda@queenstribune.com, or @luisgronda.