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City Council signs off on BID expansion, Hunters Point to get added sanitation services and beautification

Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the LIC Partnership and BID executive director (file photo)

Jan. 4, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

Following more than two years of planning, the expansion of the Long Island City Business Improvement District to include a section of Hunters Point has passed its final hurdle and was approved by the City Council today.

The city council approved legislation allowing the LIC Partnership to expand the BID beyond the current Queens Plaza/Court Square area. The legislation makes way for the LIC Partnership to establish a new BID sub district in Hunters Point, stretching along Jackson Avenue, Vernon Boulevard and 44th Drive.

The LIC Partnership, the organization running the BID, will now be able to provide services in Hunters Point such as maintenance/sanitation, marketing/promotion for local businesses, and “placemaking,” according to plan documents.

The new legislation gives the greater LIC BID an $800,000 budget for the first year, earmarking $350,000 for the “South Sub District,” or the new Hunters Point area, and $450,000 for the existing “North Sub District,” or the Queens Plaza/Court Square area that the BID already covers.

In Hunters Point, $156,550 will be set aside for maintenance, $103,450 for placemaking, meaning design, beautification or community engagement efforts for public spaces and $40,000 for marketing. Another $35,000 will be used for office and administration and there is a $15,000 contingency fund, according to the LIC Partnership proposal from May.

In Queens Plaza/Court Square, $155,000 will go to maintenance/sanitation and $86,000 will go to marketing/promotions. $20,000 will go towards the BID’s existing Ambassador program to provide visitor-oriented information such as maps. $151,000 will contribute to maintenance of public improvements already implemented along Queens Plaza, Dutch Kills Green and Jackson Avenue.

“I’m thrilled that after long last, the City Council has voted to pass the Long Island City BID expansion,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has supported the expansion since it was proposed. “Now, even more of our neighborhood will benefit from the community development, beautification, sanitation, and marketing initiatives that have helped make Queens Plaza and Court Square the vibrant destinations they are today.”

Leading up to the city council vote, the plan was approved by Community Boards 1 and 2 and the City Planning Commission.

As with all BIDs, each property owner within the new Hunters Point sub-district will be required to pay an assessment. Most landlords pass this fee onto their tenants.

That assessment is calculated based on type of property and frontage size. In 2015, the LIC Partnership estimated that a typical Vernon Boulevard mixed-use property with 25 feet of frontage and one floor of commercial use would be charged $510 annually.

The Partnership stated that in all, 50 percent of the sub-district’s properties would be charged less than $660 annually, or $55 per month.

Properties that are entirely residential will be assessed a token $1 per year.

The proposed BID subdistrict that was approved today

 

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9 Comments

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MRLIC

Patricia Dorfman is right yet again. Clear thinking not just Build and let’s see what happens planning needs to be done. Stop taxing these small businesses.

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A small landlord

Another tax Yay. So the small landlords along Vernon, Jackson and 44th drive either have to absorb another cost or pass it on to the tenants. None of that sounds great. Thanks LIC Partnership. Great job! NOT

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DO

Ms. Dorfman, you are a hero, have NYC CEO credability (new title) as a comminity leader found in our neighborhoods of LIC, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Astoria.
The changes you envision should be set into legislation. Jimmy Van Bramer, mayor wannabe, listen up!
Taxing small business for their own demise is bad enough. The BID also appears to be a flashing light to the sharks of giant drugstore chains to set up their innane rivalry block after block, with Big Banks Brands taking up the rest of the space. Basta! Or, let’s cut it out all ready.

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Patricia Dorfman

*sigh*

Yes LIClady, you will get cleaner streets; however,
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Only in about a decade will LIC residents and small businesses fully realize that LIC is now an extension of Manhattan, and notice the lack of sky, normal amenities like grocery stores, walkable streets, lack of parking, lack of a seat on public transit, lack of any grassroots control.
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Business Improvement Districts” were created in the 70’s to save an area from blight, not used as they are now, to gentrify an area and displace small biz and residents. They are now a tool for big real estate and financial interests to effect a “land grab.” If unneeded to save an area, they are just organizations run by property owners for property owners.
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The following is an overly dark view, but see: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20160918/REAL_ESTATE/160919896/clean-operators-or-shadow-governments-critics-of-bids-say-its-time-to-bid-adieu-to-citys-business-improvement-districts-like-the-bryant-park-restoration-corp-and-alliance-for-downtown-new-york-that-have-become-big-business
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LIC’ers will sadly see that the reason they moved to or started a biz in LIC, the views, the hipness, new affluent residents, the convenience, the feeling of uncharted territory and an affordable life – are gone and that no amount of buses, boats, bicycles will get them where they want to go or allow them dry cleaners, cobblers, super markets, watering holes, enough green space, schools, artist studio space, professional space, small manufacturing, small charming ethnic restaurants, an ability to follow the American dream and everything that makes NYC NY.
__________

While a bid has many advantages for areas in blight, money for promotion, enhanced sanitation, security and holiday lights, BID’s now are landlord organization to run territory, ironically paid for by the small businesses who are taxed every month, little firms which now have lost their autonomy. Small biz will at first like the upside and only understand the problem when they go to renew a lease on a biz which they built up with labor, money and love, and which has helped the area improve, and there is no one to help them.
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After the big developers have made their money and departed, risk free with 421-A and other measures like Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which are not good for the landscape or people of NYC, the result of this “real estate tsunami” of which BID’s are only part, will New Yorkers see they are stuck with a permanent problem.
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Why LIC? The “barons” want this land to be flipped and developed because this is where they made their investments, not say, development many would welcome further out in the boroughs in reverse commutes, providing jobs and housing. Next on the agenda is the wide swatch of Sunnyside Yards. Why not do what is good for the people and turn half of the 200 acres into a park?
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Suggestions:

1. Let your electeds know you will give them a soft place to fall. They do need real estate money to survive so we must help them find another source, and let them know you will back them 100% if they go “anti-gentrication.” No to BQX, no to rezoning, no to giant skyscraper after another with no massive infrastructure needs done first, and until the benefit to us is shown.
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2. Nice if the LIC BID did some long-term planning based SOLELY on what is good for Queens residents and businesses and the landscape – NYC Planning has not done so.
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3. We all ask for passage of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act or similar bill, which can be in place as long as needed and overnight stop 1000’s of small businesses from closing, skyrocketing cost of living increases, high-rent blight from warehousing and the attendant crime, displacement of residents, and warehousing. Thank you, Majority Leader Van Bramer for endorsing the bill. Speculation, which has small businesses thrown out and empty buildings then resold for more, has less appeal if it is harder to throw out a tenant.
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4. Change the city charter for BID’s to have their Boards of Directors be 50% local small businesses or franchises and 50% local residents (could be a common set), and set term limits for BID boards across the city, as now officers may serve for life.
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5. Phase out the taxpayer paid, mayor-appointed Bureau of Standards and Appeals; Thank you, Jimmy Van Bramer for your recent efforts to tame the BSA developer loophole. We need our Community Boards to be not just advisory. They work for free!
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Voters citywide, as we see with 50-25 Barnett, Sherman Plaza, new faces among the electeds, that the people are feeling the pain. The first candidate who speaks up strongly for anti-gentrification will sweep the election in my view of the many groups who are part of grassroots alliance, Jobs, Homes, Hood, will sweep the election.
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I work as Exec. Dir. of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce [will never run for office] and our bylaws forbid partisan stands. Our purpose is supporting not only business but the ethics and general betterment of the community. We gratefully receive small grants of taxpayer money from city and state, but operate on 1/8 of the budget of the our BID.

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Our local Sunnyside Shines BID, which came out of the Chamber, has done many good things. If #4 above were implemented, we might not need Chambers of Commerce! But for now, to save our jobs, homes, and neighborhoods, we need to unify and speak up as the tsunami rolls in.

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Go to your Community Board meetings. And why roam? Shop at home at your local stores. Why not shop local before we only able to sit home with a view of another skyscraper and order from Amazon, Fresh Direct and Seamless?

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brooklynmc

I really think that the reason people move to LIC are simple. Economics and geography. Period. Cheaper than Manhattan and close to Manhattan. As things begin to open and fill in the holes, LIC will only get more appealing, not less appealing. This is not the midwest and even though some old timers liked it the way it was, it is never going back and the old timers should just be thankful they got to live this close to Manhattan, this cheaply, for so long. Personally, I am tired of reading restaurant reviews and posts from old timers who appear to hate everything and everyone. With the exception of a few blocks here and there, LIC was a dump. If you like rust, decay and grumpy old people there are plenty of places in America to go. It is called the rust belt.

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LICLady

Sanitation services, how nice. But when are we going to get alternate side of the street parking and then … gasp .. street cleaning? Then we could be like every other neighborhood in NYC, and get the services we already pay taxes for. Hunters Point streets are filthy.

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Anonymous

It kills me that for all the money this city collects in taxes and the extremely generous salaries it pays sanitation workers, the politicians are somehow justified in passing yet more costs on to property taxpayers to pay for things that should be done with existing budgets.

I mean, for crying out loud, why can’t we expect our streets to be kept clean without a BID? My block hasn’t be swept by either a sweeper or a city worker with a broom for more than a decade. And that’s only because a movie was filmed on my block. BIDs are scams, pure and simple.

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