Jan. 19, 2017 By Christian Murray
The Department of City Planning will present its analysis of the Queens Plaza/Court Square district at a public meeting January 31, representing a major step in its attempt to upzone the area in order to make provision for affordable housing.
The public meeting will held at the CUNY Law School auditorium (2 Ct Square W) at 6pm. City Planning will also be holding a private meeting with property owners and other stakeholders on Monday, January 23.
The level of detail that the public will see when the “Long Island City Core Neighborhood Planning Study” is presented is unclear. However, what is known is that the core study will eventually morph into the rezoning document that is used by City Planning to kick off the rezoning process. The primary goal of the study is to convince the public that there is a need for an upzoning so the mayor can add affordable housing.
Penny Lee, with City Planning, said at Community Board 2’s Landuse Committee meeting last night that the Jan. 31 meeting will be a recap of what was announced in 2015. “It will be a reintroduction of the study area and its boundaries, [City Planning’s] goals and the objectives as well as some analysis of existing conditions.”
Lee said that City Planning is looking for feedback to see if the study area makes sense, whether it should be shrunk or expanded and what community concerns there are.
The study area was outlined two years ago (see map below). The area consists mainly of the district that underwent a significant upzoning in 2001—particularly by the subways. However, there are still small segments—particularly toward Queensbridge Houses– where there is room for additional development, City Planning has said.
Representatives from some city agencies will be in attendance. Officials from the Parks Department, Department of Transportation and Small Business Services will be there to answer questions, Lee said.
The MTA will have a representative at the meeting but “they will come to listen” and won’t be doing any type of presentation.
Lisa Deller, chair person of Community Board 2’s Landuse Committee, asked Lee what steps City Planning will take after the public meeting is held.
Lee said she expects City Planning to have ongoing discussions with various groups—such as civic associations—for about six months. From there, City Planning will craft its recommendations.
Deller expressed skepticism about City Planning’s goals. “I have to say that I have some concerns,” she said, adding that the study has caused some anxiety. “I understand the purpose of wanting to expand the opportunities for affordable housing…but this community is inundated with an acceleration of development.”