City Planning votes in favor of Flushing waterfront district
by Benjamin Fang
Nov 11, 2020 | 341 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The City Planning Commission voted 11-2 in favor of the Special Flushing Waterfront District.
The City Planning Commission voted 11-2 in favor of the Special Flushing Waterfront District.
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The proposed waterfront district now heads to the City Council for a crucial vote.
The proposed waterfront district now heads to the City Council for a crucial vote.
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The Special Flushing Waterfront District passed another hurdle last week after the City Planning Commission voted 11-2 in favor of the proposal.

The project, which is currently in the Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), now heads to the City Council, which hosted a hearing on Monday.

In a statement, FWRA LLC, the consortium comprised of F&T Group, United Construction & Development Group and Young Nian Group, the three developers behind the project, said they are pleased with the vote.

“There is nothing our community needs more right now than positive news,” the developers said. “As the owners behind the project, who have worked tirelessly for years to see this project come to fruition, this vote marks another step in the right direction.”

The development consortium noted that supporters submitted more than 300 letters in favor of the project to showcase that their vision “resonates with those we are working to serve.”

“Without question, the months since COVID-19 have been among the most trying times our city has ever seen,” they said. “There is no better time to give Flushing and New York City this exciting new chapter.”

The Flushing waterfront proposal, covering 29 acres along Flushing Creek, would create 1,725 units of housing, including up to 90 affordable apartments at 80 percent of the area median income. The project also includes retail, hotels, office space and more uses.

The district would include remediation of the contaminated waterfront, expanded open space, a private road network with connections to downtown Flushing and other amenities.

Helen Lee, executive vice president of F&T Group, said her team has been working “around the clock” on the project. She said the CPC vote validates what the developers are doing with the waterfront district.

“We feel confident, we’re ready for the next step,” she said. “This project is worth fighting for.”

Marisa Lago, chair of the City Planning Commission, voted in favor of the project, noting that the project would assist the city as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This application is an important step forward for Flushing,” she said.

Opponents of the proposal have argued that the project would accelerate gentrification and displacement in Flushing, and overwhelm local schools, hospitals and transit systems.

Several community groups also filed an Article 78 proceeding that challenged the city’s decision to end environmental review on the project without requiring a full environmental impact statement.

While Community Board 7 voted in favor of the proposal with conditions, Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee recommended against it.

Two CPC commissioners, Michelle De La Uz and Orlando Marin, voted against the project.

On social media, the Minkwon Center for Community Action, one of the groups organizing against the waterfront district, wrote that the commission “just approved a giant windfall for developers instead of fighting for our future.”

A spokesperson for Councilman Peter Koo said in a statement that he believes the project “has many merits that would provide our community with tangible benefits we wouldn’t have under an as-of-right scenario.”

“We’re working with stakeholders in hopes of making this project the best it can be for Flushing,” the spokesperson said.
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