Woodlawn Senior Living returns to drawing board

Woodlawn Affiliates LLC told Community Board 12 on Friday, April 21 that it is revising its plan for Woodlawn Senior Living.
Photo Courtesy of Robert Christie

Woodlawn Affiliates LLC, on Friday, April 21 asked Community Board 12 not to vote on the company’s request for a Letter of Support for its Woodlawn Senior Living in its current design.

CB 12 was scheduled to possibly vote on the senior project at its monthly full board meeting.

According to Erica Keller of Woodlawn Affiliates LLC, the company plans to make changes to the proposal based on the community feedback it received.

The project, which is being sponsored by United Church of Jesus Christ, was likely looking at a rejection from the community board, according to CB 12’s Housing Committee chairperson Robert Hall.

For weeks, the Woodlawn community has voiced their displeasure with the senior housing plan.

Residents took issue with the project’s lack of parking, its siting on the busy E 233rd Street parcel, the income limits for potential tenants and the building’s number of units.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Councilman Andrew Cohen, and Senator Jeff Klein – all of whom have been very vocal on their concerns with the project – released a joint statement following Woodlawn Affiliate’s announcement.

“The proposed development had many flaws including the size of units in the building and traffic concerns on East 233rd Street, all of which have been raised by local residents at many community meetings,” the statement read. “The community was vociferously opposed to this proposal, and this is the logical step to take.”

The statement continued, “Although Woodlawn Affiliates LLC plans to retain this property and go back to the drawing board, this is a major win for the community.”

Keller said Woodlawn Affiliates is looking into changing the income limits to make it easier for Woodlawn seniors to live in the apartments.

According to the current proposal, 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.

Dinowitz and Klein felt these financial requirements excluded Woodlawn residents since many earn too much money to qualify for the apartments.

“There are only studio apartments and the income limits are so low no one in Woodlawn would be eligible,” Dinowitz said.

“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.

Keller said the company will also look at adjusting how big the project is since some community residents took issue with the development’s 92-unit size.

Woodlawn is largely a community with single family homes.

Keller said Woodlawn Affiliates LLC plans to return to the community board with a revised proposal before the summer begins.

She added the group does not plan to meet with any more stakeholders before they return to the community board.

“We’ve gotten a plethora of feedback that we need to incorporate before continuing the conversation,” Keller said. “They’re not going to say anything different than they have already said and we need to have time to react to that.”

Keller said the company has also informed city agencies they will not be moving forward with the project in its current form.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at rchristie@cnglocal.com.

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