CB7 votes down Municipal Lot 3 affordable housing proposal

By Madina Toure

Community Board 7 voted against approving a proposal seeking to build affordable housing at Municipal Lot 3 in Flushing because a portion of the units would also be allocated to residents living in the coverage areas of Community Boards 3 and 4.

The project, known as One Flushing, consists of 231 affordable apartments and a superintendent’s unit at the lot at 133-45 41st Ave., which would include 66 units of low-income senior housing.

The project would also provide up to 229 parking spaces, which would be 73 more than the current 156 spaces at the lot.

In April, HPD Commissioner Vicki Been chose Asian Americans for Equality, HANAC Inc. and Monadnock Development for the project’s development team.

The city Department of Housing Preservation & Development’s affordable housing lottery rules mandate that current and eligible residents of the local community board receive preference for 50 percent of the units.

But an HPD spokeswoman said it is not guaranteed and that half of CB 7’s allocation was granted to residents under Community Boards 3 and 4 after City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst) asked the city to locate a public site near Willets Point for affordable housing.

CB7 covers Flushing, while CB 3 covers Jackson Heights and CB 4 covers Corona.

The agreement stemmed from concerns that affordable housing in the Willets Point Development Plan would not be completed in a timely manner, the spokeswoman said.

Ferreras could not be reached for comment.

CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty said he was willing to concede a small percentage of CB 7’s share but not half of it.

“I said I would give a small percentage, such as 5 percent or 10 percent, but I would never give half of my allocation away as chair of the board,” Kelty said, noting that residents in his district could benefit from affordable housing.

John Kaiteris, HANAC’s executive director, said the preference selections were decided before his organization joined the development team.

“They (CB 7) had no objection to the project, but they wanted to send a message to the city about the preference,” Kaiteris said.

Once the units set aside for people with disabilities are filled and the community board and municipal employee preferences are implemented, the remainder of the units are open to any applicant, specifically for the other boroughs, the spokeswoman said.

But she stressed that all of the affordable apartments are subject to the randomized housing lottery and that the shared community board preference was outlined in the Willets Point agreement made between City Hall and the City Council in 2013.

There are few public sites in the area and Municipal Lot 3 was one of two sites identified, the spokeswoman said.

A second-floor community facility area will offer a range of care services to support senior wellness, managed by AAFECare Flushing and HANAC in partnership with the Parker Jewish Institute for Healthcare and Rehabilitation. Building residents and seniors in the area can use the services.

HANAC will also operate its Weatherization Assistance Program from the community facility area, which seeks to reduce heating and electrical costs and improve energy efficiency of residents’ homes.

A large ground floor community room will be available to the community for meetings and events as well as a rooftop vegetable farm for residents.

AAFE, through its lending-arm affiliate Renaissance EDC, has set up a $2 million loan fund to provide loan assistance to area small businesses interested in renting space.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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