Friday, September 24, 2010

CB #7's Kelty: All Bark But No Bite

As we expected, the barking being done by CB 7's Gene Kelty about Flushing Commons turned out to be meaningless-and frankly we weren't surprised that the former fire marshal resorted to self-immolation, since he has been huffing and puffing to no avail for years; while at the same time fronting for the kind of development that will severely hurt the community he allegedly represents.

The Flushing Times has the story: "The $800 million Flushing Commons development project has cleared its final bureaucratic hurdle after nearly a decade of planning. The Queens Borough Board voted Monday evening to approve the city’s plans to sell the downtown Flushing land where the project is slated to be built to its developer, TDC Development. The vote was unanimous but came with a healthy does of chastising by City Council members and Eugene Kelty, chairman of Community Board 7, which did extensive work to address community concerns regarding the project."

EDC must be laughing their collective asses off-and their contrition is risible: "Carolee Fink, the EDC’s project manager for Flushing Commons, apologized to Kelty after the meeting and told him the agency would move to quickly fulfill his request." These are the kinds of promissory notes that are best suited for being utilized to replace a used roll of Charmin.

But here's Kelty in a comical high dudgeon: "“The Community Board has tried to work hard to make sure the project was modified as best it could be ... The EDC needs to follow through with the letters, the community needs to be satisfied and the EDC needs to continue to work with [Councilman] Peter Koo [R-Flushing],” Council Land Use Committee Chairman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) said. Kelty said at CB 7’s Sept. 13 meeting that he would only vote to support the project Monday if the city, the developer and other groups drafted letters indicating that they would address remaining concerns CB 7 had about the proposal. In the end, Kelty said he nearly voted no for the project because of these issues but that he and his other executive board members decided that it was best to vote in favor since most concerns had been addressed."

But one-upping the comical Kelty is the befuddled Queens BP who was also ignored in the city council deliberations-the two of them underscore just why all of the discussed changes in the city's land use review law are really no substitute for strong-even just conscious and breathing-political leadership. Without that-and Board 7 (along with the hapless Koo of course) exhibits the no nothingness of so many of these community Potemkin Villages-no amount of reform of ULURP will mean much.