Tomorrow, the City Council will face its first major land use decisions since it extended its own term limits. Two controversial Queens plans proposed by the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Willets Point and Hunters Point South, are up for vote. Whether many council members’ change in political aspirations will affect their votes remains to be seen.
The City has been lobbying hard for its Willets Point plan, which faces opposition for a number of reasons, particularly the City’s proposed use of eminent domain to acquire property. Curbed has a good wrap-up of recent press coverage. The City has been busily negotiating with Council Member Hiram Monserrate, who represents the district and has long opposed the project, in the last few days. The most recent word is that Moserrate may support the project thanks to an “unprecedented” affordable housing offering from the City.
Affordable housing is also at issue in the Hunters Point South plan, which includes a 10-acre park, a school and towers containing 5,000 apartments. The project is billed as a “middle-income” development, in which 60 percent of units would be set aside for households with incomes between $55,000 and $158,000/year. Local organizations such as Queens for Affordable Housing and the Pratt Center for Community Development argue that, given that the median income in Queens is around $45,000, the plan does not address the housing needs of a majority of Queens residents. Read more in the NY Times.