May 17, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
After two years of planning and two public meetings, the final step toward expanding the Long Island City Business Improvement District to include a section of Hunters Point has begun.
The Department of City Planning has received formal plans for the BID expansion and referred them out for community board review, a spokesperson said. This marks the beginning of the legislative process that ends when the city council approves the expansion.
The LIC BID currently serves businesses in the Queens Plaza/Court Square region along Jackson Avenue and Queens Plaza.
If approved by the City, the expansion would create a new Hunters Point sub-district for the BID, stretching along Jackson Avenue, Vernon Boulevard and 44th Drive.
Community Board 1, which abuts the existing BID region, will host a public hearing on the BID expansion at its monthly meeting tonight (6:30 p.m., Astoria World Manor, 25-22 Astoria Blvd.).
Community Board 2 will take up the issue at its next meeting on June 2, according to Chair Pat O’Brien.
The Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will also weigh in on the plan as part of the process. The City Planning Commission will also need to make a recommendation.
Ultimately, the BID expansion will need to be approved by the City Council. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the area and will therefore be a key voice on the issue, said he is a “big supporter” of the BID expansion.
Services provided to the BID sub-district properties would include maintenance/sanitation, marketing/promotion for local retail and business, and “placemaking,” according to plan documents.
The LIC Partnership, which is the BID’s sponsor organization, could not be reached as of deadline for questions about these services. Generally speaking, “placemaking” refers to design, beautification or community engagement efforts for public spaces.
The Hunters Point sub-district would be working with a budget of $350,000. This is a smaller and separate budget from the existing BID zone, which will be $450,000 in the expanded BID’s first year.
In Hunters Point, $156,550 will be set aside for maintenance, $103,450 for placemaking and $40,000 for marketing. Another $35,000 will be used for office and administration and there is a $15,000 contingency fund.
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.
As with all BIDs, each property owner within the Hunters Point sub-district would 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 (see page 19 in application below). Last year, 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, while a sample Jackson Avenue wholly commercial property with 25 feet of frontage and $246,600 assessed value would be charged roughly $860 annually.
The Partnership stated that in all, 50 percent of the sub-district’s properties would be charged less than $660 annually.
Properties that are entirely residential will be assessed a token $1 per year.
The full proposal including a list of all properties affected is below.
For information about the formation of BIDs, click here.