One Ridgewood-based lawmaker who has been fighting to stop out-of-character development across the neighborhood doubled down on her efforts during last week’s Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association meeting.
In recent months, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan has written letter after letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), NYC Department of City Planning and other agencies outlining her opposition to a proposed five-story apartment building and the 17-story Ridgewood Tower.
In the case of the five-story building at 455 Onderdonk Ave., plans show the new structure will be a 15-unit apartment building which will include a nine-car on-site parking garage. The Ridgewood Tower, which will be located at 54-27 Myrtle Ave., 336 and 350 St. Nicholas Ave., will bring 129 luxury apartments consisting of 39 studio apartments, 51 one-bedroom apartments, 27 two-bedroom apartments, and 12 three-bedroom apartments, with 350 parking spaces, and commercial/retail space to the neighborhood.
Nolan believes these buildings will be vastly oversized and out of character with the surrounding neighborhood.
“Whatever I can do to keep Ridgewood landmarked, downzoned, whatever we can do, we do not want Ridgewood to be a high-rise neighborhood,” Nolan said.
Nolan also made mention of the high-rise buildings going up in other areas of her district like Long Island City and Sunnyside, and does not want to see the same thing come to Ridgewood.
The assemblywoman believes that really tall buildings can have a negative effect on neighborhoods such as limiting the amount of sunlight some places receive and shutting out airflow.
The need to create more affordable housing units was not lost on Nolan, although she believes that there are better ways to bring affordable housing into neighborhoods without building monstrously large buildings.
“We want to have affordable housing,” Nolan said. “But destroying Ridgewood as Ridgewood is not the way to achieve that. So whatever we need to do on that, we are going to do.”
In an attempt to prevent these high-rise buildings going up in Ridgewood “as of right” according to the zoning, Nolan has asked Community Board 5 (CB 5) and the chair of the NYC Department of City Planning, Maria Lago, to examine the zoning allowances in the area.
When it comes down to it, the issue is a City Council issue, Nolan noted, so there is only so much she can do from the Assembly.
“But you have my full support,” Nolan told the homeowners. “The more we can get landmarked, the more we can keep so that our community has the benefits of light and air and backyards, and things like that, the happier I’ll be. And you have my full commitment.”