Tag Archives: CB 7

NYPD to sign 20-year lease for College Point tow pound


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of George Filippidis

Community Board 7 gave the NYPD its blessing Monday night to sign a 20-year lease on a tow pound previously under a temporary agreement to operate at 31-22 College Point Blvd.

After hearing both sides of the debate, the board voted overwhelmingly to recommend that the tow pound stay, with 29 votes supporting the long-term arrangement and 14 votes against.

The tow pound appeared on the lot in 2013 to the chagrin of College Point residents, who feared that the facility would increase traffic and weaken streets already riddled with potholes and deteriorating roads. The area also hosts a new police training academy which opened in January.

With an average of 40 to 50 cars towed into the facility daily, the tow pound is estimated to generate additional traffic of around 60 cars per day including cars towed and employee vehicles. The location has on-site parking for employees, and can accommodate 157 cars.

Despite area residents’ initial reservations, police say they have not received any complaints in the two years of the tow pound’s operation in College Point.

Owners Jerry and George Filippidis, brothers who are both residents of the area, assured board members that they were trying to consider the good of the neighborhood by choosing the relatively lower traffic tow pound than a big box retailer.

The area is currently zoned for retail use, so no additional approvals would be needed for a large store to occupy the building. According to Jerry Filippidis, a large retail store could generate traffic of more than 50 cars and trucks per hour coming into the site.

“I wanted to be able to look every single one of you in the eye and let you know that we made the right decision,” said Jerry Filippidis, who has lived in the community for 25 years.

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Community Board 7 calls for denial of College Point land sale


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

A local high-tech manufacturing company was at the center of a heated College Point land deal debate at Monday’s Community Board 7 (CB 7) meeting in Flushing that culminated with a thumbs down from the advisory body.

S&L Aerospace Metals LLC, located at 120-22 28th St. in Flushing, is looking to purchase two plots of land from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC). One plot of land is owned by the city and the other is owned by the EDC.

To purchase the city-owned land, S&L had to submit an application to the Department of City Planning (DCP) to comply with the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). Once the application was accepted, it was sent to the community board for review.

The board was to vote on whether to recommend allowing the sale of the city-owned land to S&L. Then, the Queens Borough Board will follow with its own recommendation, and the City Council ultimately has the final say in the decision.

The debate on whether or not to recommend allowing the sale came about because, after an asphalt company, Cofire Asphalt Corp., acquired some of the land in a 2010 land swap, Cofire did not take proper care of the plot.

“The deal was they were going to clean it,” explained Chuck Apelian, first vice chairman of CB 7. “They were going to maintain the operations at the site…the stipulations were all part of the deed restriction. None of these took place.”

Even though the previous deal was not handled correctly, the board made it abundantly clear that they support S&L and their operation.

“I support S&L; they know it,” Apelian said. “I also explained to them why we did what we did and we think it is ultimately to the benefit of, not only the community, but to S&L and everybody that this gets done the right way.”

“We can’t approve a land sale of contaminated land that was supposed to be cleaned up five years ago,” he added.

While some members agreed with Apelian, others felt that recommending denying the sale would be punishing S&L for something they had no control over.

“If this was a final vote and we made the decision tonight, you’d be right, we would be punishing them,” Apelian told those in favor of recommending the sale. “But we’re not punishing them because we’re not making the decision. We’re making a recommendation to the others in the process and ultimately to ones that make it.”

Ultimately the board voted 33 to three to recommend to deny S&L’s application to purchase the land.

The recommendation will now be presented to the Queens Borough Board, which has 30 days to make their recommendation.

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Willets Point developers discuss affordable housing, ramps at meeting with community board


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Ramps and affordable housing were at the heart of the first quarterly meeting between a local community board and developers of a major Willets Point redevelopment project.

Related Companies and Sterling Equities briefed Community Board 7 on October 17. The meeting was the first of four this year required under a last-minute pledge they made to sway the board towards approval. The joint venture must put $100,000 into a traffic fund for each one missed.

CB 7 Vice Chair Chuck Apelian said the city officially allocated $66 million in its capital budget for the design and construction of traffic ramps that will lead into the transformed Willets Point mixed-use development.

The ramps off the Van Wyck Expressway were necessary to fulfill the affordable housing portion of the major $3 billion redevelopment project.

“The key is that we didn’t have in our hearings any confirmation that there would be money to build these ramps,” Apelian said.

There was also some insight into housing site plans, including affordable units for seniors, Apelian said.

The joint venture is eyeing one location in Flushing near Main Street by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station and plans to build about 235 units in Corona, Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, according to CB 7.

Developers promised the City Council in October they would move up construction of the total 2,500 housing units — 35 percent of which will be affordable — from its original set 2025 date.

They are also discussing plans to expand LIRR service to Willets Point, according to Apelian.

The city currently owns 95 percent of 23 acres in the project’s first phase, according to New York City Economic Development Corp. There is no timetable as to when the remaining properties will be acquired, Apelian said.

“They still don’t own it all and until that time, they can’t transfer the property to the developers, so nothing will move forward,” he said. “It’s going to be an all or nothing proposition.”

 

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Board permits Willets Point mall in key vote


| mchan@queenscourier.com

willets4

Plans for a behemoth mall at Willets Point received a key nod from Community Board (CB) 7 after the city and the facility’s developer laid out a list of new commitments.

CB 7 granted a special permit to Sterling Equities and Related with a 22-18 advisory vote. The joint venture wants to move Citi Field parking to Willets Point in order to construct a 1.4 million-square-foot shopping center at Willets West.

The board’s land use committee, including CB 7 Chair Gene Kelty, voted down the permit in a meeting last week.

But a pair of letters detailing a list of new promises by the developer and city swayed them at the last minute.

“I changed my vote tonight because I had papers in front of me that I felt comfortable with,” Kelty said.

“The other time, there was nothing. I was looking at a blank slate in front of me.”

In April, the committee told developers they needed more information about parking, traffic flow and transplanting the plethora of small business owners within the Iron Triangle.

The Queens Development Group and Deputy Mayor Robert Steel returned with pages of new promises, including a pledge to provide ongoing environmental remediation of all 23 acres of Willets Point land the city is acquiring from the current occupants.

The pair of letters also detailed commitments to conduct and fund traffic mitigation measures, build a 1,000-seat K-8 public school and give $1.87 million to the Willets Point Infrastructure and Traffic Mitigation Fund.

Developers also agreed to put $100,000 into the fund for every quarterly meeting with CB 7 that they miss.

“There was just a lot more that was brought into language in both these letters,” said Chuck Apelian, CB 7’s first vice chair and head of the land use committee. “That’s why I’m supporting this, and I think we’ve come a long way.”

The recommendation now goes to Borough President Helen Marshall, the Department of City Planning and then the City Council.

Ethan Goodman, a lawyer representing the developer, said there would not be another chance to clean up the long-neglected property.

“A vote against this plan is a vote against cleaning Willets Point,” he said. “We’re talking about 100 years of contamination. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The Queens Development Group said in a statement the approval brings them “one step closer” to transforming the area into “a vibrant new neighborhood.”

However, dozens of local residents, including current Willets Point landowners, pleaded with the board to vote against the permit.

“We have jobs over there,” said Marco Neira, president of the Willets Point Defense Committee. “I don’t know why you’d want to approve the project and kill all those businesses. We are workers over there.”

Joseph Ardizzone, the only person who lives in Willets Point, said democracy died with the board’s green light.

“Anyone that votes yes to taking my property denies me the right to be an American citizen,” Ardizzone said. “God bless America? I don’t think so anymore.”

Residents protested the delay of affordable housing during Community Board 7’s vote on Monday. (THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan)

 

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