We need to remember that zoning laws are made to protect the land, environment, and the people. We can’t allow corporate greed to “bulldoze” over our communities.
We are the Surfside Housing Association of Tenants (SHAFT). We live in a rent stabilized complex of three 12-story buildings, each housing 250 households—totaling 750 apartment units, and a community of more than 2,000 people.
Our 60-year-old Surfside complex is in Rockaway Park, on the Rockaway Peninsula (off the south coast of Queens, New York City), and is owned by landlord Alma Realty Corporation. For years, we have been meeting with our local elected officials and Alma in our efforts to resolve hazardous and chronic maintenance issues in the existing three buildings. Alma Realty is proposing to build three additional 20+ story towers here. The proposed new apartment towers will be in our "backyard," eliminating onsite tenant parking, the playground for our children, and grass areas that help absorb storm surges. The proposed new development will be a disaster for the surrounding neighborhood and for the natural environment.
Should this negligent landlord be allowed to put the health and safety of more residents and the surrounding community at risk by building more apartment towers on this narrow beach area? We hope you will join us and sign our petition to oppose additional development in this fragile and already densely populated area.
Alarming facts about this proposed over development:
o Flood Zone: We live on the narrowest portion of the Rockaway Peninsula. There are only three short blocks between Jamaica Bay on our north shore and the Atlantic Ocean on our south shore. During Hurricane Sandy, first responders and neighbors were wading in chest-high raging waters pouring into our three-block-wide area from both sides at once (the bay and the ocean). This is not a place to add a cluster of 20+ story towers and thousands more residents. SURFSIDE, FLORIDA, of course, comes to mind!
o Overcrowding of this already densely populated beach area: 2,000 residents live at Surfside already. Alma’s plan would triple the population, adding 2,000 more apartment units, and displacing 1,000 cars onto area streets, where parking is already impossibly tight. Existing residents would be living in the shadow of towering new structures, robbing us of air and light, and subjecting us to congestion, noise, and air pollution.
o Vulnerable Natural Area: Our apartment complex is directly across the street from the Rockaway Boardwalk and Rockaway Beach, a public recreation area for residents from all over NYC and a very fragile and beloved natural area. An environmental impact study must be done and has not yet been done!
o Inadequate Infrastructure and Resources: Alma’s plan would increase pressure on already overburdened area schools, our one remaining hospital (our main hospital on the Peninsula was already bought up by a developer and converted into condos); traffic arteries, parking, and transportation. Our local community board has again and again voted against harmful over development, but again and again elected officials have allowed these harmful corporate projects to go forward, against the community’s wishes, and in spite of sea level rise and increasingly intense storms off the ocean. Why? The remnants of Hurricane Ida recently killed 18 people in NYC, yet our city government is allowing more and more unwise projects to go forward on the ocean front.
Please join us and sign this petition to oppose shocking and dangerous over development at NYC’s beloved Rockaway Beach. Together, we can fight against greedy developers and their political enablers. We need to save our homes, our neighborhood, our communities!