With a single dissenting voice, Community Board 13 approved a planned expansion of the Oceana housing complex in Brighton Beach.
At the group’s meeting last week, 27 board members voted in favor of the construction of a 16th building in the 15-acre Oceana complex.
“We’d very much appreciate the full support of the community board,” said James Whelan, senior vice president for public affairs for Muss Development, which is developing the Oceana site.
The lone opposing board member was community stalwart Lou Powsner, who argued that Brighton Beach could not handle the influx of additional residents – and traffic – that another multistory building would bring.
The intersection of “Brighton Beach Avenue and Coney Island Avenue is one of the most devastating in all of Brooklyn,” Powsner said. “There have been numerous accidents. Nothing has been done about it.”
He also expressed sympathy for Brighton Beach residents who cannot afford Oceana’s pricey digs, which range from $685,000 for a two-bedroom unit to $2.8 million for a penthouse.
He said the Oceana buildings, which are five to 12 stories tall, block the flow of cool ocean air to Brighton Beach’s residential blocks.
The 16th building would be 12 stories tall with 62 residential units.
Powsner said the project is “taking the beachfront area away from the people who live in the neighborhood but not in the high-rise houses.”
Oceana, which bills itself as a “resort-like community,” is comprised of 15 luxury condominium buildings in a gated community bounded by Brighton Beach Avenue, the boardwalk, Coney Island Avenue and Seacoast Terrace.
The 16th building would boast below-grade public parking for 45 cars. The cars would enter and exit from Coney Island Avenue.
There would also be a 20,000-square-foot commercial space on the first two floors of the building.
Developers would build a refrigerated trash storage facility, which would hold refuse from all Oceana buildings. This would stop the practice of leaving trash bags along Coney Island Avenue, which has angered residents who complain of foul odors.
Whelan said Oceana is a “success” that continues to attract potential condo owners.
“It’s proven over time to be a great housing opportunity for folks who have previously rented in Brooklyn,” he said.
To build the 16th building as designed, Muss Development must complete the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for two actions. One, to allow for the retail use and public parking. And two, to allow for the construction of another 12-story building and a “slight increase” in floor area.
If the project becomes reality, Community Board 13 member Eddie Brumfield said it’s important that local residents be given first crack at construction jobs.
“We are in a recession and some would say we are in a depression. One way to solve it is give our community, which is Community Board 13, an opportunity to receive some of those jobs,” he said.
©2009 Community News Group
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