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Residents start petition in attempt to block 28-story Vernon Blvd development

ShoP Architects

ShoP Architects

April 7, 2016 By Christian Murray

Opposition against a proposal that would bring a 28-story tower and two other buildings to the Paragon Paint site on Vernon Blvd continues to mount with a neighborhood group calling for the Board of Standard & Appeals to reject the plan.

The Hunters Point Community Coalition, a nonprofit group that was established in the late 1980s to moderate large scale development, has started a petition in opposition to the elaborate plans for the 45-40 Vernon Blvd site.

The petition started shortly after Community Board 2 issued a strong letter to the BSA in opposition to the plan. “We are writing on behalf of CB2 to express its grave concerns and strong opposition” to the proposal, wrote Chairman Patrick O’Brien on behalf of the board.

The board’s opinion is advisory, with the BSA having the ultimate say.

The developers, Simon Baron Development and CRE Development, need a zoning variance in order to build 344 rental apartments on what is a site currently zoned for manufacturing.

The plan includes the construction of a group of buildings, with one being 28 stories and two others being eight stories and 13 stories respectively. The existing Paragon Paint building would be revamped and converted into apartments.

Greenberg's rendering

Greenberg’s rendering

The developers filed an application in October 2015 with the BSA to get a zoning variance. They claim they have spent $20 million cleaning up the toxic site, although details as to what Brownfield credits they will receive for the cleanup have not been made available.

Kenny Greenberg, who lives two blocks from the site, said the members of the Hunters Point Community Coalition believe that the project is too large and is out of scale with the neighborhood. Furthermore, they claim the project would undermine the character of the neighborhood.

The group’s petition also argues that the project would also add to the infrastructure problems in the neighborhood and that the variance would essentially amount to spot zoning that should be avoided until a comprehensive plan of the neighborhood is mapped out.

Greenberg said the group has been gathering signatures online and on paper, and plans to present the petition at the BSA hearing.

Ryan Singer, the executive director for the BSA, said that the BSA hearing dealing with the site is likely to take place in summer. He was unable to be more specific.

Hunters Point was rezoned in 2004 and the community made a point of keeping buildings low rise on or near Vernon Blvd, Greenberg said. The taller buildings were to be located on the waterfront.

Greenberg is hopeful that the BSA will listen to the group’s claims.

“The BSA is changing and is becoming more responsive to the community,” he said.

Kenny Greenberg

Kenny Greenberg

Greenberg, who has lived in Long Island City since 1988, said that it is important that the BSA gets to hear from people who live close by and know the history of the area.

Members of the HPCC have been holding informal gatherings in recent months and have decided to come together with one voice. The group has largely been inactive in recent years.

The group plans to raise money and hire an attorney to ensure that its views are heard properly at the BSA hearing, Greenberg said.

QNS was first to report on the story.

Cb2 Paragon Paint Building Bsa Opposition Letter by Queens Post

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This is against the long-standing mandate that allowed high rise along the waterfront. Permission was given for the first buildings, through the rest for high rise, and low rise back through all the low rise buildings. That is why new buildings along side and 21st St, for example, are rebuilt their present low height. (As, when a three story is torn down, a three story goes up.) Air and light, folks. The stuff Manhattan forgot.
By the way, monster building would be the sharp edge for further variances, and mass destruction. Hold the line folks. Don’t go for the developers crap, to build crap hi rises.

donald trump

only 28 stories!!?? where are we in DesMoines? Amatuers out there in LIC!!!! Go for at least 80, AT LEAST!!

And then

Install zip lines from all the buildings so every one can propel their way across the river to work. It will be uge


The lot is zoned for commercial. Why not do what has been done behind Laguardia community College and renovate the building to be used for small businesses and specialty stores? We certainly could used that in this neighborhood.


I’ll take the ruined factories over the current LIC which is characterless as one person put it and sterile.


I get that some don’t like to see their neighborhood changed, that sediment has been around since 97 when they rezoned Queens West, but areas like LIC with their large parcels of property are ripe for such developments and large projects. To me the pros of such developments outweighs the cons by much and overall the improvements to the neighborhood and waterfront are vast and welcomed.


LIC is turning into a sterile, grey, characterless place, like Jersey City and Battery Park City.


You want to know that was SOOOOOO much better? A thriving Vernon Boulevard with locally owned retail businesses providing just about everything people are demanding we have now on the same street, an area that provided plenty of decent jobs for families that lived here and stayed for the long haul, a surplus of affordable housing for people of all income groups, a well-regarded school that provided an enviable and low-priced education to generations of families, a cohesive and supportive community where violent crime was virtually nonexistent and where seniors and other vulnerable people had networks of support, a thriving cultural scene that provided cheap working spaces to artists.


That is because like Jersey City and Battery Park, there was really nothing there with character. Brooklyn is able to retain character because there is a ton of character there. I can understand the “we don’t have the infrastructure” argument, but the “destroying the character” thing is a joke.


Do you know what we we had with tons of character in LIC? People — people with humanity, humor, class and soul. That’s my definition of character and what kept it unique. We simply don’t have this anymore. How dare you ridicule those of us who still look back fondly on that time? I suppose small people like you will never understand that. What a shame.


You deserve ridicule because you are a caricature of a bunch of old farts on a porch bemoaning the passing of the good old days. Get with modernity. There are plenty of new people here with humanity, humor, class, and soul. You are just too conceited to see it.


Thanks for keeping it classy, Safety Mom. Your post took you off the list too.


Can we add more condos…all these rentals do not allow for a deep community to develop, as a good amount of renters will move here and move away in a couple of years. Condos allow people to stay at lease a few years longer.


This rendering shows 31 balconies from the top of the Paragon building; is someone drawing a taller than 28 story building to make it look more out of proportion? I mean, I see how such a structure could change the character of Vernon but I think that being setback from Vernon makes it fine.


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