Around midnight on Monday night/Tuesday morning, Queens Community Board 7 approved the EDC plan for the redevelopment of Willets Point by a 20-15 vote. However, according to a press release, “those board members who approved the plan imposed such severe conditions that the vote was tantamount to a rejection.” The conditions include:
- More affordable housing – the board wants 30 percent of the project devoted to real affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers, as opposed to the the City’s 20 percent set aside for low- and middle-income families;
- A substantial mitigation fund – the City has offered the community board $5 million to mitigate the impacts of this project, while the board has asked for 10 percent of the project cost (which translates to about $300 million);
- Real Community Board oversight of the project – the board wants an ongoing and active oversight role in the project if it moves forward, while the City has promised toothless quarterly meetings with an unknown developer who will have no obligation to heed the community’s advice or concerns;
- Limited use of eminent domain to steal private property – the board sanctioned the use of eminent domain but expressed clear concern about the City’s plans to seize land that is 100 percent owned by private citizens (with the exception of the streets).
The next stop in ULURP for the Willets Point Plan will be the City Planning Commission. Stay tuned for info.