Aug. 21, 2013 By Christian Murray
The 5 Pointz graffiti icon moved one step closer to meeting the wrecking ball this morning.
The developer’s application to demolish the site and erect 1,000 apartment units –370 more than what is permitted under current zoning rules—was approved by the City Planning Commission.
The only thing that can stop the special permit from being granted is the city council.
The city council is likely to put the zoning permit up for a vote within the next 50 days—after the city council holds two public hearings.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has enormous influence over the vote, said he would “meet with various stakeholders and ultimately make a decision based solely on what I believe is best for Long Island City.”
To date, the special permit has been approved by the planning commission, the Queens Borough President’s Office and, tacitly, by the leadership of Community Board 2.
The Queens Borough President’s office agreed to the special permit after an agreement was struck on June 26 between the leaders of Community Board 2 and developer Jerry Wolkoff. Wolkoff agreed to provide 75 affordable apartment units with preference for neighboring residents; 20 artist studios (up from the five that were initially proposed); and below market-rate parking.
The agreement followed the 40-member Community Board 2’s rejection of the plan on June 6. The board argued that the development was too large and out of character, made no provision for affordable housing and provided little in the way of art studio space.