Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum stated the following today:
"Tomorrow, the City Planning Commission will vote on a development plan for Willets Point that is far from complete. We can expect that the Commission will rubber stamp the plan. In less than two months, the City Council will be required, because of the ULURP clock, to vote on this same plan.
What’s wrong with this scenario? Plenty.
First, we just don’t have enough specific information. The Request for Proposals (RFP) sets out the framework for the redevelopment, but we don’t know who is going to be the ‘master developer’ for the site, to hold accountable for what the actual plan will look like at completion.
Second, the needs of local businesses in Willets Point haven’t been adequately addressed. These businesses have been in the area for a long time. Many have dealt with horrible conditions, including no sewer system and a lack of any City improvements or maintenance for years.
Third, given our current economic crisis, we need to know what kinds of public subsidies will be provided for this plan, and where the money will come from.
Unfortunately, the clock is already ticking for the City vote on the Willets Point plan. The administration shouldn’t force the Council to speculate on the details of this plan. It may be difficult in the short time left, but they need to come up with the specifics about the future of this development."
Response from WPIRA:
"Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is exactly right about Willets Point: There are too many questions and not enough answers for the City Council to move forward with the Mayor's seemingly haphazard plan. This is exactly why 33 members of the Council have voiced opposition to it and it's probable abuse of eminent domain. Mayor Bloomberg should recognize the fatal flaws of this plan and instead work with the property owners on sensible and affordable infrastructure investment that Willets Point has needed for decades. If not, we trust the City Council will show the same independence that Ms. Gotbaum demonstrated today with her courageous stance and reject this misguided proposal."