CB5 OK’s Ridgewood Zoning Change

BY LUIS GRONDA
Staff Writer

The proposed Woodward Avenue apartments in Ridgewood is one step closer to getting the green light.
Community Board 5 voted 28-11 for a zoning change that would allow developers to build a 90,000-square-foot residential building at 176 Woodward Ave., between Troutman and Starr streets near Linden Hill Cemetery.

There had been much back and forth on the issue, since the plan was first introduced at the board’s March meeting. It has mostly garnered support among residents living in and around the area. Many said the apartment complex would bring needed housing and jobs to Ridgewood and put to good use a site that has some manufacturing ongoing but is mostly vacant.

Opponents of the plan say that the proposed rent for the apartments is too high for the neighborhood and could force landlords who own nearby apartments to raise their rent in order to stay competitive. The rents proposed by the apartment developers, Aufgang Architects, are $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.

Prostitution was another concern raised by residents against the complex. That area is known for heavy prostitution activity, residents said, and it could cause problems for anyone that moves there.

An alternate plan to the zoning change was introduced by two other CB5 members, Paul Kerzer and Ted Renz, that would allow for both manufacturing and residential apartments at the site. That zoning designation would allow manufacturing on the first two floors and apartments on the next three floors.

Tom Smith, a representative from the Dept. of City Planning, said he is not sure that plan would be a viable solution for the area, because he is not sure how long it would take to create zoning that would mandate housing residential apartments and manufacturing in the same facility. He said it would have to be carefully studied and there are environmental issues that would need to be addressed.

“I don’t see this as a quick solution for the site,” he said.

The plan will now go before Queens Borough President Melinda Katz later this month during their monthly land-use meeting.

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