BY JON CRONIN
Strategies for resiliency in the face of flooding were presented to the Borough Board on Monday as part of a borough wide master plan to improve infrastructure.
Betty Braton, chairperson of Community Board 5, was skeptical that they would see the needed infrastructure in South Queens needed to allay storm surges and coastal flooding.
John Young, director of the Queens’ Borough office of the Department of City Planning, stated “We want to make sure they are protected from natural hazards,” and noted that much of their focus is Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach and Broad Channel. He said, “They are not only subject to coastal storms they are subject to high flood events, particularly lunar tides.”
Young said they will align zoning for a particular type of housing that can be more resilient to the events that befall that community. “These areas, particularly Broad Channel had a great deal of flood risk.” Young said that structures should be built there higher than usual to withstand flooding.
Braton said, “The zoning aspect is there. What isn’t happening is the infrastructure that’s necessary.”
“There’s a greater focus on that,” responded Young.
“That focus has to become a reality,” said Braton
In his presentation, Young stated that in Old Howard Beach they will support resilient retrofits and street-end infrastructure upgrades. He noted that because Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel are both at sea level, they will deploy “a zoning treatment to denote high flood risk and restrict future residential development to detached buildings while making it easier for property owners to make investments in resiliency.”
Young also noted that Rockaway Park and Rockaway Beach are better for long-term resiliency because they can retrofit housing through federal, state and city coastal protection efforts that will advance mitigation efforts.
He said they will educate homeowners on how to retrofit homes and how to offset the cost.
Roger Gendron, chairman of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, who did not attend the meeting, stated, “Hamilton Beach should be rezoned and the rezoning should be limited to one and two-family detached homes, with two-family homes only being allowed on wider lots.
This would go a long way in making Hamilton Beach a more resilient community while maintaining our neighborhood’s character.”
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin