Friday, April 25, 2008

Blight Fight

In spite of the high degree of opposition to the Willets Point ULURP application, an opposition that saw 29 city council signatories to a letter to EDC chastising the agency for moving the rezoning of the Point prematurely, some Queens officials aren't giving up. As the NY Sun reports: "Elected officials in Queens are calling for the city to move forward with a proposed development in Willets Point, despite strong objections from City Council members and local businesses. Yesterday, Queens President Helen Marshall led a rally outside of City Hall in support of the $3 billion plan, which would include a convention center and hotel."

Queens BP Helen Marshall told the city hall presser that the Iron Triangle area was, "blighted,” and said that the development was needed to remove environmental hazards." Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water. The blight in question here is a self inflicted wound by a city that has neglected the area even while businesses have been contributing taxes and employment for decades.

Still, the pols in support here don't have the real say in the matter. As the Queens Chronicle reports (courtesy of Liz), even Speaker Quinn appears to be unwilling to grant the current ULURP application any legitimacy: " Council Speaker Christine Quinn was not happy that the plan is going forward despite such major opposition. “When a majority of council members signal their concern about a project, all parties should take notice,” she said. “While there is still time to work out any differences, I am disappointed that the plan was certified when there is clearly such adamant opposition in the council.”

The first land use hearing on this matter will be on May 5th at Community Board 7. Here's a synopsis of the review process: "Public hearings will begin on the community board level, proceed to the Borough President’s Office, the City Planning Commission and finally the City Council. Marilyn Bitterman, district manager of C.B. 7, said on Monday that the board’s Land Use Committee would hold its first Willets Point meeting on May 5. It will not be heard by the full community board until June." This one will really be interesting.