BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
Affordability remains the major sticking point for a controversial 1,700 unit development proposed in Astoria.
2030 Astoria Developers, the development team behind the project, met the City Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises on Monday for a public hearing. Their Astoria Cove proposal was approved in a near-unanimous vote by the City Planning Commission last month and has been touted by Mayor Bill de Blasio, but the Council remains unconvinced.
Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn) referred to the project as “a joke,” calling the 20 percent of affordable housing proposed by developers “bare minimums.” Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) called the proposal “atrocious.”
Public Advocate Letitia James said that the income levels targeted by 2030 Astoria for affordable housing do not reflect those already present in the area. “To say ‘low income’ is really not accurate,” she said.
Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), who represents the neighborhood where Astoria Cove would sit, said that he is concerned that the zoning text permits developers to provide “affordable” units at higher rates than proposed – below market-rate but nonetheless out of reach for native Astorians.
Developers have stated that they will not take advantage of that permission, planning to provide 20 percent of housing in the low-income band, and reiterated the promise at the hearing.
The subcommittee will cast an advisory vote, and Astoria Cove will receive a final vote from City Council by late November.
While the community waits on Astoria Cove, other opportunities for affordable housing have already opened up in the area.
A Woodside Mitchell-Lama co-op has opened affordable housing wait lists for two and three bedroom apartments. According to the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development, two-bedroom purchase prices run from $36,467 to $40,519 and three-bedrooms run from $48,721 to $52,781. The deadline to get on the waiting list is Oct. 31.
Applications have also opened for affordable units at the Hunter’s Point South development in Long Island City. Interested renters should visit www.nyc.gov/housingconnect. Applications are due Dec. 15.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.