Community Board 1 approves Variety Boys & Girls Club expansion with conditions

The Variety Boys and Girls Club’s plan to expand to a new five-story facility, funded by a 14-story residential building, got the green light by Community Board 1 last night.

The conditional approval came with stipulations to address some of the board members’ concerns. Those conditions include:

  • Agreeing to set aside 30% of units as affordable at an average of 60% of the area median income (AMI),
  • Distributing the affordable units equitably, and providing subsidized amenities for those units,
  • Using materials that will lessen the visual intensity of the height of the building,
  • Committing to continuing existing and new club programs without fees year-round,
  • Increasing the number of scholarships available to cover costs of fee-based programs

CB1 member Tom Ryan added another stipulation that the building strive to be environmentally friendly and energy neutral, a motion that carried.

The board voted in favor of the rezoning, 29-8, with one abstention.

At the meeting at Astoria World Manor, club leaders made the case that the expanded facility was needed to serve a growing community. Matthew Troy,┬áVariety’s executive director, said though the club serves more than 220 kids daily in their after school program, 642 children are on the waiting list.

“That really breaks my heart,” he said.

The new facility would double its capacity, and serve up to 500 students.

After the vote, board president Walter Sanchez said he was thrilled that the community supported the plan.

“Being able to use proceeds from a residential building to build a state-of-the-art club for community is a win-win all around,” he said. “I am glad the community board members saw that.”

The proposal now moves forward to the borough president’s office, who will recommend for or against it. The City Council will have the final vote.

Councilman Costa Constantinides said at the meeting last night he looks forward to partnering with the Variety Boys and Girls Club and CB1 to address concerns.

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