A developer’s application to rezone a section of 31st Street in Astoria — to make way for three large residential buildings — received the conditional approval of the Queens borough president last week.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards’ approval, which he issued on Oct. 29, is at odds with mounting opposition from community leaders and elected officials. For instance, Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani and Councilmember-elect Tiffany Cabán both argue that the plan does not make provision for enough affordable housing. Furthermore, Queens Community Board 1 overwhelmingly rejected the plan.
MDM Development, an Astoria-based real estate company, has filed plans with the city to upzone the east side of 31st Street between Astoria Boulevard North and 24th Avenue in order to develop three residential buildings — two of which would be 11 stories and the other 12.
One of the buildings would go up where the Neptune Diner is located. The diner would be demolished to make way for it.
The plan calls for the construction of 278 units, 69 of which would be deemed affordable housing in accordance with the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Option 1 requirement. The proposal also includes retail space and community facilities.
Richards cited the citywide need for affordable housing as a justification for his conditional approval. He approved the plan subject to a series of conditions that dealt largely with the design and construction of the development.
Richards asked the developer to consider the feasibility of lowering the heights of the buildings to address one of the central issues raised by Community Board 1. The board was concerned that the buildings would overwhelm the residential buildings located nearby.
Another condition aims to placate adjacent homeowners who fear that their property would be damaged during construction. The condition calls for the developer to run pre-construction surveys on the homes along the property line to use as a baseline in case there is a dispute pertaining to damage.