Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hiram's problems with Willets Point plan

A majority of the Council, led by local Councilman Hiram Monserrate, publicly opposed the city's move to start the rezoning process three months ago. And while the Bloomberg administration has won some victories recently--the community board endorsed the plan; the city has reached acquisition deals with three property owners; and organized labor now supports the project--Mr. Monserrate and others still express clear opposition to the project as currently planned.

* Eminent Domain--Mr. Monserrate said he wants an assurance that the city will not engage in the "wholesale use of eminent domain" in the project. More land deals need to be made or the city needs to come up with some other way of committing to a limited use of eminent domain before the Council votes on the project, he said. "I am not saying that some eminent domain can't be used--I think that there's a use," he said.

* Housing--Mr. Monserrate wants far more of a commitment to below-market-rate housing. The Bloomberg administration has thus far pledged that 20 percent of the units will be below-market rate; affordable housing groups want 60 percent. Agreements on housing usually come late in the approval process, perhaps just before a vote. "The number has to be dramatically higher," Mr. Monserrate said. "Eighty-twenty is unacceptable. ... Come back with a number that's real, and not a negotiating ploy that's an insult."

* Developer Approval--The plan currently calls for the city first to rezone the land with Council approval and then select a developer (the city believes it has to go this route to comply with eminent domain law). Mr. Monserrate and others, including the Land Use Committee's chairwoman, Melinda Katz, have expressed concerns with this structure. (The Council often wrests concessions from a developer, and without a second approval round, would be unable to have much say in the final plan.) "It has to come back to the Council," he said. "We are the check and balance system in city government."

At Willets Point, Unusual Uncertainty Over Political Path Ahead

Photo: Business owners from the Willets Point Industry and Realty Association (WPIRA) and over 150 of their supporters and workers rallied in front of the Queens Borough President's office prior to the Land Use Public Hearing where the City's redevelopment plan for Willets Point was reviewed for recommendation on July 10, 2008. Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer joined Council Members Hiram Monserrate and Tony Avella to support Willets Point business owners fighting to protect their private property from an unprecedented and potentially illegal land grab by the Bloomberg Administration.


Anonymous said...

I do not see what the hoopla is.

When there is controvsery, it is never about keeping the status quo.

It seems like a contest between your crew and my crew with the community as the prize.

No one is talking about how the infrastructure will handle this, or the eminate domain abuse.

tommy cc said...

everything is a horse & pony show . there are lies on top of lies from the city ,but that is ok as long as evan boy and barry grodnick lobby the hell out of every politican out there. if you look at every powerfull queens group .ex queens chamber of commerce, botanical gardens, town hall,ny hospital, claires group ect ect they are all the same people pushing this thru!! developers donating and licking ass and payoffs to get a piece of the pie. follow the $$$ and you will find who is really " behind the curbline" .

Anonymous said...

This is more promising than I thought. Monserrate is seeking some changes that would be likely anyway, it does not appear he will oppose the new development. Thankfully, Queens will soon be rid of the mess at Willets Point and some good things will be built there.

Anonymous said...

"Thankfully, Queens will soon be rid of the mess at Willets Point and some good things will be built there."

You must work for bloomie.

Taxpayer said...

"Thankfully, Queens will soon be rid of the mess at Willets Point and some good things will be built there."

Too bad that when they come for your house (or whatever property of yours that they want for themselves), you will find no sympathy or help from others.

Help me. How does any "mess" at Willets Point" concern you? How will you benefit from the theft of private property for use by already wealthy developers (who will cut you in for nothing)?

Would you be so concerned if Willets Point were in Sun Valley, Utah?

Anonymous said...

Taxpayer, you really should take some classes in logic and argument. My house is in great condition, looks nice, and is not a blighted mess. This also is not theft. If eminent domain were used, it would be because the owners refused to take prior offers and they would receive market value for their property. Theft would be if the property was stolen for nothing. We've gone through this before but you remain obtuse.

I have to look at this mess when I go to Mets games or the U.S. Open. I would have nice places to go to shop and eat if this area is developed. Therefore, I have an interest in what happens. Can you understand that? Stop being so angry that people want to improve things beyond the narrow little world in which you live.

Julie said...

"My house is in great condition, looks nice, and is not a blighted mess. This also is not theft. If eminent domain were used, it would be because the owners refused to take prior offers and they would receive market value for their property."

The previous anonymous poster really doesn't understand the Kelo decision. This said that any property can be taken by a government if the government feels that by giving it to another private owner, it can generate more tax revenue from it. It has nothing to do with the property being a blight. Furthermore, the blight in this case is caused by the city withholding basic services for decades. 42 states have passed legislation limiting eminent domain to purely public purposes, like a school or highway. Sadly, New York was not one of them. I hope you are now better educated. This issue is about more than wanting to eat at TGIFridays' after a Mets game. It's about private property rights. And yes, your house can just as easily be taken for the next bright idea cooked up by the commies at City Hall.

Furthermore, if the property were rezoned now for residential and commercial while the current owners still own it, then the city couldn't possibly offer them the same amount that they will for its current manufacturing purpose. This is therefore cheating themm out of money (aka "theft").

Anonymous said...

Wow! I don't think we are reading the Queens Chronicle anymore, Toto!

CJ said...

Good post Julie. You obviously read Kelo and understand the ramifications. Willets Point is a classic example of Eviction Through Neglect. Only in this case the government becomes the landloard and it is rewarded for it's theft of service.

jerry crown container said...

julie , great post we all need someone like you who does know what they are talking about. i am a business owner in willets point and the city has neglected the area for 30 years and now the people ( claire shulman ) who neglected the area want to be the hero now and hand it to a developer so yes you are 100% right

TaxpayingDad said...

Everybody is looking to cash in on an area that looks just like a toilet and has for the last 25 years. I ask all the people of the city to go and drive through the muddy, filthy streets and businesses that operate out of tin shacks and post here to tell the world that these business owners are crying about something legitimate.

Julie said...

Those aren't the people crying about something legitimate. House of Spices, Bono Sawdust, Tully Construction, Crown Container, Fodera Foods, etc. are the landowners who are affected by this decision. The "chop shops" are, for the most part are on leased land.

Please, TaxpayingDad, educate yourself about what this situation is actually about before commenting stupidly.