[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 222 (Friday, November 16, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68807-68809]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27987]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

[Docket No. FR-5669-N-01]


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) for the Halletts Point Rezoning Project, Queens, NY

AGENCY: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and 
Development, HUD.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS.

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SUMMARY: This provides notice to the public, agencies, and Indian 
tribes that the City of New York--Department of Housing Preservation & 
Development (HPD), as the Responsible Entity in accordance with 24 CFR 
58.2(a)(7), and the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) 
serving as lead agency on behalf of the City Planning Commission (CPC) 
in accordance with City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR), Executive 
Order No. 91, and the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act 
(SEQRA), 6 NYCRR 617, intend to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) for the Halletts Point Rezoning Project. The EIS will 
be a joint National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and CEQR document. 
The EIS will satisfy requirements of SEQR (6 NYCRR 617.8) and CEQR 
(Sections 6-08 and 6-12 of Executive Order No. 91 of 1977 as amended), 
which require that state and local government agencies consider the 
environmental consequences of projects over which they have 
discretionary authority before acting on those projects. The proposed 
action is subject to NEPA because the proposed disposition of NYCHA 
property at Astoria Houses will require a federal approval from HUD 
under Section 18 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. This notice is in 
accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations 
at 40 CFR parts 1500-1508.
    A Draft EIS will be prepared for the proposed action described 
herein. Comments relating to the Draft EIS are requested and will be 
accepted by the contact person listed below. When the Draft EIS is 
completed, a notice will be sent to individuals and groups known to 
have an interest in the Draft EIS and particularly in the environmental 
impact issues identified therein. Any person or agency interested in 
receiving a notice and making comment on the Draft EIS should contact 
the person listed below up to 30 days following publication of this 
notice.
    The EIS will be a NEPA document intended to satisfy requirements of 
federal environmental statutes. In accordance with specific statutory 
authority at Section 26 of the U.S. Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 1437x) and 
HUD's regulations at 24 CFR part 58 (Environmental Review Procedures 
for Entities Assuming HUD Environmental Responsibilities), HUD has 
provided for assumption of its NEPA authority and NEPA lead agency 
responsibility by HPD. The EIS will be a CEQR document intended to 
satisfy State and City environmental statutes as described above.

ADDRESSES: All interested agencies, tribes, groups, and persons are 
invited to submit written comments on the project named in this notice 
and on the Draft EIS to the contact person shown in this notice. The 
office of the contact person should receive comments and all comments 
so received will be considered prior to the preparation and 
distribution of the Draft EIS. Particularly solicited is information on 
reports or other environmental studies planned or completed in the 
project area, major issues that the EIS should consider, recommended 
mitigation measures, and alternatives associated with the proposed 
action. Federal agencies having jurisdiction by law, special expertise, 
or other special interest should report their interest and indicate 
their readiness to aid in the EIS effort as a ``Cooperating Agency.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick Blanchfield, Director of 
Environmental Planning, City of New York--Department of Housing 
Preservation & Development, 100 Gold Street, Room 9I-7, New York, NY 
10038; Fax: (212) 863-5052; email: blanchfp@hpd.nyc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

A. Background

    HPD, acting under authority of Section 26 of the United States 
Housing Act of 1937 and HUD's regulations at 24 CFR part 58, in 
cooperation with other interested agencies, will prepare an EIS to 
analyze potential impacts of the Halletts Point Rezoning Project.
    The proposed new development would occur on approximately 9.65 
acres in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, New York, adjacent to the 
East River on the Halletts Point peninsula. The project site affected 
by the proposed actions comprises all or portions of eight tax lots: 
Block 913, Lot 1; Block 915, Lot 6; Block 916, Lots 1 and 10; Block 
490, Lots 1, 11, 100, and 101. In total, there would be development of 
twelve buildings. Building 1 (Block 915, Lot 6) would be located on the 
block bounded by 27th Avenue to the south, 1st Street to the west, 26th 
Avenue to the north, and 2nd Street to the east. Buildings 2 through 5 
(Block 490, Lots 1 and 11 and Block 916, Lots 1 and 10), including the 
mapped streetbeds of 26th and 27th Avenues between 1st Street and the 
East River, would be bounded by Hallet's Cove Playground (Block 490, 
Lot 100) to the south, the East River to the west, Whitey Ford Field 
(Block 913, Lot 1) to the north, and 1st Street to the east. The land 
on which Buildings 1 through 5would be constructed is privately owned. 
The privately owned portions of the project site consist of light 
industrial uses, vacant buildings, and open land used for temporary 
storage of vehicles and equipment.
    Buildings 6 through 8 would be located within the existing New York 
City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Astoria Houses campus (Block 490, Lot 
101) bounded by 27th Avenue, 1st Street, and 8th Street. The Astoria

[[Page 68808]]

Houses contains 22 six- and seven-story residential buildings on an 
approximately 27-acre campus with a total of 1,103 residential units, 
as well as surface parking lots, a day care center and senior center, 
basketball courts and playgrounds, walkways, and other landscaped 
areas. The campus was completed in 1951. The project requires the 
disposition of three parcels of public housing property within Astoria 
Houses to private developers for the construction of residential 
buildings with ground floor retail space. The existing uses on these 
sites, including parking and trash facilities, would be relocated 
elsewhere within the Astoria Houses campus. Additionally, the project 
would include a public easement on Astoria Houses property to allow for 
Astoria Boulevard, which currently terminates in two cul-de-sacs, to 
become a through street bisecting the Astoria Houses development.
    In order to facilitate the proposed mixed-use development project, 
discretionary approvals from the City Planning Commission (CPC) would 
be required, including a number of zoning map changes; zoning text 
amendments; Large-Scale General Development (LSGD) special permits 
related to bulk; waterfront special permits, authorizations, and 
certifications; and mapping actions. These discretionary approvals are 
subject to review under the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure 
(ULURP), which requires a determination pursuant to CEQR. In addition 
to the proposed actions subject to CPC approval, the proposed project 
will require approval from other City, State, and Federal agencies, 
including disposition of public housing property (i.e., NYCHA 
property), use of development rights associated with lands underwater, 
jurisdictional transfer of parkland, and potential financing approval 
for affordable housing.
    The proposed actions would facilitate the development of a total of 
approximately 2.67 million gross square feet (gsf) consisting of a 
total of approximately 2.15 million gsf of residential space (2,573 
housing units including 2,161 market-rate and 412 affordable housing 
units); approximately 68,000 gsf of retail space; and approximately 
1,253 garage parking spaces and 85 on-site surface parking spaces. The 
proposed project would also include approximately 96,000 sf (2.2 acres) 
of publicly accessible open space, including a waterfront esplanade 
along the East River and upland connections to 1st Street. In addition, 
it is expected that a number of street improvements and improvements to 
stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure would be provided to 
support the new development.
    The new development on Buildings 1 through 5 would consist of seven 
new buildings with high-rise towers rising from low- to mid-rise bases. 
On Buildings 1 through 5, the proposed project would include 
residential, retail, and parking uses in low- to mid-rise bases and 
residential uses in high-rise towers. The low- to mid-rise bases would 
include one level of below-grade parking and up to four floors of 
additional parking above-grade. The above-grade parking would be 
located in the building cores, wrapped by residential and retail uses. 
The residential uses wrapping the parking garages would consist of 
townhouses below apartment units. Ground floor retail would line 
portions of 1st Street and the demapped portion of 27th Avenue, leading 
to the waterfront. An approximately 30,000 gsf retail space (designed 
for a supermarket use) would be located on the ground floor of Building 
1. The parking garages in the building cores may be topped by a rooftop 
terrace for use by the buildings' tenants. The structures on Buildings 
1 through 5 would range from 16 to 30 stories in height (160 to 300 
feet). The low- to mid-rise bases would be a minimum of four stories 
and would range from approximately 40 to 80 feet in height. Buildings 6 
and 7 would contain four new mid-rise buildings rising to a maximum 
height of 100 feet and 110 feet, respectively (10 and 11 stories). 
These structures would contain residential and retail uses and surface 
parking. Local retail uses would be located along 27th Avenue and 
surface parking lots would be provided at the rear of the buildings. In 
addition to the Applicant's proposed development program for Buildings 
1 through 7, the proposed actions would facilitate a proposal by NYCHA 
to dispose of the site for Building 8 along Astoria Boulevard for 
development pursuant to a future RFP. Building 8 would contain one new 
high-rise building rising to a maximum height of 240 feet (24 stories). 
This structure would contain market-rate residential units and retail 
uses and garage parking. Local retail uses would be located on Astoria 
Boulevard at the intersection of 1st Street.

Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    Alternatives to the proposed action will be analyzed in the EIS. 
Typically the alternatives section in an EIS is examines development 
options that would tend to reduce project-related impacts. The full 
range of alternatives will be defined when the full extent of the 
proposed project's impacts is identified, but at this time, it is 
anticipated that they will include the following:
Alternative 1--No Action Alternative
    The No Action Alternative would analyze the continuation of uses on 
the site; therefore, existing buildings and tenants would remain at the 
project site and no new buildings or uses would be constructed.
Alternative 2--No Unmitigated Adverse Impacts Alternative
    If significant adverse impacts are identified in the EIS, the No 
Adverse Impacts Alternative will describe the modifications to the 
project that would be needed to avoid any such impacts.
    Other possible alternatives may be developed in consultation with 
DCP, NYCHA, and HPD during the EIS preparation process and may be 
suggested by the public during the scoping of the EIS.

B. Need for the EIS

    The proposed project may constitute an action significantly 
affecting the quality of the human environment and an EIS will be 
prepared on this project in accordance with CEQR and NEPA. Responses to 
this notice will be used to: (1) Determine significant environmental 
issues, (2) identify data that the EIS should address, and (3) identify 
agencies and other parties that will participate in the EIS process and 
the basis for their involvement.

C. Scoping

    A public EIS scoping meeting will be held on a date within the 
comment period and after at least 15 days of publishing this Notice of 
Intent. Notices of the scoping meeting will be published in the New 
York City Record and a newspaper of general circulation when the date 
has been determined. The EIS scoping meeting, which will also satisfy 
the scoping meeting requirement for CEQR, will provide an opportunity 
for the public to learn more about the project and provide input to the 
environmental process. At the meeting, an overview of the project will 
be presented and members of the public will be invited to comment on 
the proposed project and the scope of work for the environmental 
analyses in the EIS. Written comments and testimony concerning the 
scope of the EIS will be accepted at this meeting. In accordance with 
40 CFR 1501.7, affected Federal, State, and local agencies, any 
affected Indian tribe, and other interested parties will be sent a 
scoping notice. In accordance with 24 CFR 58.59, the scoping hearing 
will be preceded by a

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notice of public hearing published in the local news media at least 15 
days before the hearing date.

D. Probable Environmental Effects

    The following subject areas will be analyzed in the combined EIS 
for probable environmental effects: Land Use, Zoning, and Public 
Policy; Socioeconomic Conditions; Community Facilities and Services; 
Open Space; Shadows; Historic Resources; Urban Design/Visual Resources; 
Natural Resources (including a floodplain analysis); Hazardous 
Materials; Water and Sewer Infrastructure; Solid Waste and Sanitation 
Services; Energy; Transportation (including traffic, parking, 
pedestrian conditions, and transit); Air Quality; Greenhouse Gases; 
Noise; Neighborhood Character; Construction Impacts; Public Health; and 
Environmental Justice.
    Questions may be directed to the individual named in this notice 
under the heading FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Dated: November 8, 2012.
Mark Johnston,
Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development (Acting).
[FR Doc. 2012-27987 Filed 11-15-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4210-67-P