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Queens Plaza/Court Square developers may be REQUIRED to build affordable units should rezoning occur

QueensPlaza1

Jan. 29, 2015 By Christian Murray

The Department of City Planning is likely to make it mandatory for developers to build affordable housing in the Court Square and Queens Plaza areas should it rezone the district.

The department is currently studying the area to determine whether it should upzone the district as a means to promote affordable housing as well as commercial activity—such as light manufacturing.

The agency is currently reviewing about 100 streets that include Queens Plaza (from Queensbridge Houses to Northern Boulevard) and parts of Court Square. It is also reviewing neighboring sections of Jackson Ave. and Northern Boulevard.

The concept of implementing a mandate requiring developers to include affordable units would be unique– since no other New York City neighborhood has done so, said John Young, the director of the Queens Office of City Planning. The idea is a departure from standard policy where developers are provided with “incentives” to build affordable units–such as allowing them to build slightly bigger buildings.

Therefore, while the Queens Plaza/Court Square proposal is likely make way for larger buildings, the change would also guarantee more affordable units.

“It would be a requirement that a portion [of the building] would have to be affordable,” said John Young, the director of the Queens office of City Planning, who is reviewing the concept.

Young said that the department will be having meetings with stakeholders this winter to discuss the concept–as well as other issues. Such stakeholders include members of community board 2, civic associations, cultural groups and the Long Island City Partnership, he said.

Young said that by late spring the department is likely to come up with the results of its analysis and would then present a preliminary proposal to stakeholders in summer.

He said by fall a proposal would must likely go out for public discussion.

Young said the study comes on the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York proposal, which aims to create or preserve some 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years.

Furthermore, the study was prompted by a letter sent out by Community Board 2 last year that claimed that sections of Long Island City had turned into the Gold Coast and that there was greater need for affordable housing.

When the area was rezoned in 2001 the planning department had hoped to create a significant business district as well as housing. However, the business area has not grown to a level that it had hoped—while pricey buildings have gone up at a fast clip.

Therefore, the department is looking for ways to promote retail, office and light manufacturing.

Any rezoning would have to go through a lengthy process—including several public meetings—and various government bodies. It would ultimately need to be approved by the city council.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he is open to a rezoning. However, he said, that he would want to make sure that the infrastructure—such as schools—could handle a larger population.

These areas in color are part of the area being studied

These areas in color are part of the area being studied (New York City Planning)

 

 

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31 Comments

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MRLIC

I just came across these posts. The people who say lower income residents should be pushed out are senseless and heartless. Put the shoe on the other foot and see how you would like to be pushed out of your longtime or lifetime home.

Reply
Betty

Long Island City used to be all factories. It is not until they built the City Corp building that the idea of Luxury was even thought of. Then in early 90’s they started building by Vernon Jackson. That area was still mixed until the 2000.

The development started in Queens Boro Plaza (LIC) to Astoria from early 2000 – present. Rent around here was pretty decent until they started building all these luxury buildings. As a result more and more people were being pushed out of there own neighborhoods. These people were not low income people. Most were home owners. These are people that are considered low income right now.

You also have people that lost their jobs when market crashed in 2009. These people were here before you. The middle class pretty much doesn’t exist. Please don’t think projects when you think low income. Think they are people just like you.

And for those that say that LIC will become slums – did forget of the housing projects that surround you. If you ask me this called segregation.

Reply
sc

it is asinine to give up the tax revenue that could be generated in such a high demand neighborhood to build housing for those who won’t be paying said taxes.

keep the neighborhood at market rate, take the income developed from the exploding tax base, invest in infrastructure/subway improvements that help all citizens of any income.

i understand we need more affordable housing in the city, but why on earth would you put it in areas that are clearly booming, taking away invaluable income?

how long till we can get rid of deblasio again?

Reply
LIC Homeowner

If you were on the trains today you wouldn’t say the area could sustain higher density. It was an absolute nightmarish commute. I kept thinking today was a peek into the future, after all of the new people move into the unfinished high rises. I actually wouldn’t mind more commercial buildings, factories even, because it would bring in more jobs. In addition, most people would most likely be reverse commuting and not necessarily putting a strain on the insufficient transportation infrastructure.

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LIC Commercial Owner

LIC is a very large area. Parts of It are an incredible transit hub that can sustain much higher density. other area East and North have plenty of areas with middle and low income housing. The zoning should consider West of the 7 train for higher density commercial buildings. Then there can be more office space to add jobs for the community and sustain growth of existing residents along with new.

Reply
NIMBY and proud

Comments from people like David are everything that’s wrong with the new LIC and the people who inhabit it. Do you see the post about burglaries? Ignorant comments like his will make LIC more of a target for crime.

Reply
David

Your comment is a total logical disconnect. What, new people are moving into the area driving up prices therefore the original locals will use crime as a means of retribution? Or is it that the increasing housing prices requires that those paying market rents subsidize others or they will go on a crime spree? Please do explain your airtight logic.

Face it – the old LIC is not coming back, and the new LIC is going to be an affluent community with businesses that aren’t what was here before. Either start to pay rent to match the new value of your home, enjoy the appreciation of the home if you own it, or please piss off. Don’t come buy asking for handouts or threaten crime just because your own inadequacies prevent you from living here.

Reply
NIMBY and proud

It can be argued either way, but I’m not talking about retribution. I’m talking about people in the area becoming targets. Here’s a study which explains it better than I can:

“Many scholars have explored the behavior of crime rates within neighborhoods that are considered to have been completely gentrified, or are still currently undergoing the process of gentrification. They do this largely by studying the changes in crime trends in numerous neighborhoods that display typical characteristics of gentrification. This literature survey pays careful attention to the definition used to select examples of gentrified neighborhoods for examination. It will also exert the claim that crime rates of particular categories seem to rise on average within these neighborhoods upon the commencement of gentrification. It will look at the models used to normalize crime rates across neighborhoods of different populations and densities, as well as those that account for the issue of crime rates regressing towards the mean. Using these normalized statistics, the survey will outline conjectured reasons as to why crime rates seem to rise in gentrified neighborhoods.”

http://sites.duke.edu/urbaneconomics/?p=1092

Reply
David

Interesting data, but really what it is saying is that gentrification brings in more convenient targets for an existing cohort of individuals predisposed to crime. The solution is not to provide subsidized housing for this cohort, as that will only prolong the increase in crime; rather, we should allow housing prices to float with the market, forcing this cohort to move out. This should be coupled with aggressive policing to increase the risk of incarceration for lurking to commit a crime.

Essentially, a transient increase in crime is inevitable during gentrification, and the traditional liberal solution of spending other people’s money is only going to make things worse.

Reply
Lic Res

Zoning that would force property ownersto build affordable housing? What’s next: re-education camps for those who refuse it, run by the Rev Sharpton? It’s time to move out, soon they may not allow us to.

Reply
KMH

There were people, a mixed bag of artists, working class, middle class, families, and young professionals that lived here before the big development boom. Why shouldn’t they be able to afford to continue to live here. Why do the affluent that moved in feel they are entitled to LIC as their personal gated community? The bitter animosity towards non-wealthy citizens displayed in some of the comments on this blog is beyond disturbing.

Reply
David

I have no issue with the non-wealthy. I take issue with people thinking they deserve some sort of a hand out simply because they have been renting here and can no longer afford the rent. Why? Because I end up paying for it – through higher rents and higher taxes. You well being, happiness, and convenience just ain’t worth the bill I end up paying. Sorry, life is about change, and your home changed out from under you.

Reply
Ro

Is it just me? but I find it crazy that when they mention stakeholders they fail to mention property/land owners. I am all for exploring options to keep the lower to middle class in the city but let’s remember that the right to own property is a critical right in this country so one of the principal stakeholders in this scenario are the property owners.

Reply
Property Owners

Property owners are represented by the Long Island City Partnership.
The LIC Partnership manages the business improvement district.
The business improvement district is comprised of property owners.

Reply
harry

Re zone to benefit the developers. Then give them sweet tax breaks which middle class home owners have been making up for the past 20 years. My taxes have doubled in last 20 years. Now I know why some elderly lose their homes even though they are paid off. Either pay property taxes or heat and eat.

Reply
Mike

build affordable housing in other areas of queens (jamaica)

why build affordable housing in areas of high demand like lIC

this is ridiculous

Reply
David

If I have to subsidize those in affordable housing units with my taxes and market-rate rent, I should at least be able to get one to have as a valet/pet.

Reply
LIC Res

Honest question: if you create low-income housing in desirable areas, which attract high-end grocery stores, restaurants, etc., are you not setting up those residents to be priced out of taking advantage of their own neighborhood in the future?

I could be wrong. I support the idea here, but wonder about the long-term effect.

Reply
LIC Res

What if instead of low income housing, (which helps only lottery winners, reduces the city’s tax revenue, and places people in unaffordable neighborhoods) we allow all real estate to be sold at market rate, levy an equivalent tax on new units, and use that tax to improve the subway, a system which absolutely everyone, of all income levels, benefits from?

Preventing change is an uphill battle, but improving accessibility for all is not.

Reply
Licfan

If I have to continue subsidizing more affordable apartments, I may no longer afford my market rate apartment. Maybe I’ll sign up the next affordable apartment building built.

Reply
David

That’s OK. If Comrade DeBlasio has his way, all housing will belong to the City and you will get to apply for a free lottery for it. What could go wrong? It worked great behind the Iron Curtain for decades, right?

Reply
melody

Please update as the public meetings are announced. Affordable housing can be implemented in many ways from helping the very low income (poverty level) to the moderate income. All of which is based on nyc average income. Preserving quality housing for LIC residents should be high priority as the neighborhood is rapidly changing.

Reply
David

I think the most reasonable solution is for the poor residents of LIC to relocate. Accept that this neighborhood is changing into a rather affluent one.

Reply
anon

Bullshit, the upper middle class and the so called rich pay the lion’s share of taxes and fees. Go cash your “earned income tax credit” and quit your bitching.

Reply
susan

affordable housing @ $2500 a month? this city has become the tale of 2 rich & paid for on the back of the hard working slob!

Reply

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