Community Board 12 is expected to vote on a proposed senior housing development at 69-85 E. 233rd Street at its next full board meeting.
The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 27.
According to Robert Hall, chairperson of CB 12’s Housing Committee, the community is not in favor of the development named Woodlawn Senior Living.
Hall said more than 100 people came out to an April 13 Housing Committee meeting to voice their concerns about the project.
The committee did not take a vote on the project at its scheduled meeting because it lacked a quorum.
However, according to Hall the committee will vote before the general meeting and provide its recommendation to the board.
The 92-unit building – filled primarily with studio apartments – would sit in a community filled with mostly single-family homes and local residents feel it is out of scale.
Also, residents worry about the development’s lack of parking.
The site stretches along several vacant lots on East 233rd Street, across from Woodlawn Cemetery.
The section of East 233rd Street is a major thoroughfare with two lanes of traffic in each direction.
Residents feel that the Woodlawn community would be excluded from applying for the housing due to its low income qualifications.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz shared some of the residents concerns.
“I am not questioning motives or saying to never support senior housing in Woodlawn,” said Dinowitz. “But this particular plan is really half-baked.”
“There are only studio apartments and the income limits are so low no one in Woodlawn would be eligible,” he added.
Senator Jeff Klein echoed Dinowitz’s sentiments.
“It’s very difficult to ask people to support a housing development for seniors when not one of the seniors in the Woodlawn community could live there,” said Klein.
Dinowitz also reflected the community’s parking concerns while adding there is no place on the project “to pick up or drop off anyone.”
Hall said the community board advocates for senior housing but does not anticipate a vote of confidence from the board.
Hall said he does not believe in putting seniors in a community where they are not wanted from the outset.
“(The board is) probably going to decline it,” he said.
According to the project’s developer, Woodlawn Affiliates LLC, 50 percent of the housing will be set aside for Community Board 12 residents.
The housing will serve residents making 60 percent of the NYC area median income (AMI).
This translates to $38,100 per year for one person and $43,500 annually for a family of two.
United Church of Jesus Christ, the organization that is sponsoring the housing, is re-considering its income requirements.
Woodlawn Senior Living will also include a ground floor pre-school facility with an outdoor play area, social services, classes and community events.
Erica Keller of Woodlawn Affiliates LLC said she is aware of the community’s concerns.
“There were valid concerns brought to our attention and we’re working with agencies and elected officials to ensure we are addressing those concerns,” said Keller.
The developer doesn’t need community board approval to proceed with the project.
Keller said Woodlawn Affiliates plans to continue discussions with the community.