Public hearings for the rezoning of Willets Point were to begin tomorrow, February 25. However, the hearings have been postponed for several weeks.
The NY Observer has a few good articles on the latest with the Iron Triangle. Apparently, the NYC Economic Development Corporation has been stingy with details on the redevelopment plan, especially with regards to labor concessions and afordable housing.
“They’ve now put on the table affordable housing at an 80/20 rate,” said Councilman Hiram Monserrate, who represents the area. The amount is not enough to please the second-term Democrat, he said. Some advocacy groups have called for most of the housing to be for low- and moderate-income residents.
The city has also committed to having meetings with the unions in an attempt to work out a labor agreement, Mr. Monserrate said.
“These are what I would term very, very
preliminary steps,” said Mr. Monserrate, who has opposed the city's
plans and is likely a major reason the city chose to delay the start of
a public review for a rezoning of the area.
Read the Observer article for more info.
On the opposite side of Monserrate is former Queens borough president Claire Shulman.
She is leading an advocacy group, the Flushing, Willets Point, Corona
Local Development Corporation (which is funded in part by the city) in
an effort to get the rezoning approved.
Besides Monserrate, councilmen John Liu and Tony
Avella also now oppose the redevelopment plan, citing lack of any
viable information about the plan.
According to the Queens Chronicle:
The proposal is scheduled to go before
Community Board 7 as early as March for a public hearing on the
rezoning the city is seeking, from M3-1, which allows manufacturing and
commercial use, to C4-4, which allows commercial and residential
The project, which includes a hotel, a
650-seat school, a small convention center, office and retail space and
eight acres of open space, has yet to be certified by the Department of
After the public hearing, the proposal must be approved by the borough president, City Planning and the City Council…
The main issues are the displacement of the
approximately 250 businesses currently in Willets Point and the
affordability of the housing that will be built.
city is basically telling established businesses to get out,” Avella,
who represents northeast Queens, said, in an interview. He added that
the city either needs to negotiate fairly with the businesses or
incorporate them into the plan…
Another aspect that has been left out of the
official proposal is adding infrastructure. The plan does not address
the need for sewers, of which the area has none. Liu and Avella also
wondered how the development will be connected to nearby Flushing and
Corona and how the increased traffic, which is already a large problem,
will be dealt with.