From a concerned Flushing resident:
"At the beginning of January, I noticed construction equipment being moved onto the New York Times printing plant property in the College Point Corporate Park. I called up City Councilman Tony Avella's office and was told that the councilman was unaware of any new construction and would look into it.
I then began an online search and although it was difficult to find out what was about to happen, I discovered that the Times was closing its New Jersey printing facility and is bringing all of its operations to Queens.
NYT picks Goss for College Point expansion
N.Y. Times to reduce page size, close plant and cut 1,050 jobs
Cutbacks At The New York Times: Shrinking Pages And Slashing Jobs
I believe that 800 jobs are being shifted to the College Point facility. While at the outset this may appear to be a benefit to the New York City economy, the impacts on environment and quality of life would be an affront to the people of north Queens who are already frustrated by the current overdevelopment and traffic in the area, especially on the Whitestone Expressway. With this new expansion, there will be many more delivery, supply, and service vehicles added to the mix. I placed additional calls to Councilman Avella's office and posted a video on YouTube so that they could see the construction activity which now includes piles being driven in starting at 7 a.m.!
When I did not receive any further communication from Councilman Avella's office, I then called Community Board #7 on January 19th to see what they knew of this addition to the College Point Corporate Park. Apparently I took the office by surprise. I found that the community board has an agreement with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the agency that oversees the corporate park, that no new construction would be allowed without a review by the board, and clearly this had not occurred. The board sent a fax on the 19th to stop the construction until a meeting takes place. As of this writing, no meeting has been planned and the construction proceeds at a fever's pitch.
Where is the oversight? I requested to see copies of environmental reviews and traffic studies but no information has been put forth. The property sits on top of and adjacent to federally protected wetlands.
Also, why was there no public hearing or announcement? A few years ago, the Times added 4 external electrical generators for power generation during brownouts and blackouts and they placed a small ad in a local paper inviting the public in for comment. My next door neighbor and I attended, along with a representative from Councilman Avella's office. The turnout was low.
This expansion is much larger and I am disturbed by the way both the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the New York Times have gone behind the backs of the community. I also contacted State Senator Frank Padavan's office and they also were surprised by the news I related to them. It was only two years ago that this community fought off another big project proposed by the EDC that would have increased traffic and pollution in this section of Queens. It is my opinion that this is an affront that needs to be addressed immediately before construction is completed.
I have been informed that the NY Times bought the property from New York City and can do anything they want on it. This is a dangerous precedent and I can see the EDC allowing other large corporate entities to expand or create facilities without public oversight or review in other locations throughout the city.
This is an issue that must be addressed now or the needs of the citizens of this city will take a backseat to greedy corporate needs. For example, why hasn't anyone noticed that the Mets' new corporate stadium will seat 12,000 fewer fans than the stadium it is replacing? Shea Stadium may be old but its history and tradition will soon be a fond memory.
I think that the real issue here is who owns New York City? Where are the elected officials who took an oath to protect and defend the communities that they represent? I feel that I no longer have a voice in issues involving health and quality of life.
Queens was, as I recall, the bedroom borough where people who worked in Manhattan could retire to their peaceful homes and communities. Commercial and residential construction is proceeding with little or no master plan and it will be up to future generations to try and figure it all out. What a shame."