Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bloomberg starts push for Willets Point plan

[Arturo] Olaya and the Willets Point Defense Committee represent the nearly 200 businesses at Willets Point who rent their property from a landlord and have little leverage in the fight to redevelop the area as a result. Nonetheless, the group has been one of the most vocal critics of the plan — demanding that businesses be relocated and those that rely on one another to be moved together in clusters.

“We’re waiting for justice, you know? We’re waiting for these councilmen to say, at least give justice to these people. But we don’t know if that’s going to happen. We’re just waiting,” he said.

“It’s the same thing all the time, the city is neglecting us,” Olaya said. “When we went to the hearing, I talked at 4:00 in the afternoon and there was only one councilman there. When Lieber was there, there was 15. They never want to listen to us.”

Olaya, tenant businesses ‘waiting for justice’

Today, Mayor Bloomberg met about the plan with groups of council members, including the Brooklyn and Queens delegations, according to one member. Even with another contentious issue on the horizon--property taxes--the mayor devoted the meeting to the issue of Willets Point. He and other officials, including Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber, gave their pitch on the plan and fielded questions on cost, the environment and other aspects, according to one in attendance.

The project--which seeks to remake an industrial area in Queens near Shea Stadium, in part through eminent domain--has caused a fair amount of controversy, mostly stemming from the possible widespread use of eminent domain. The local council member, Hiram Monserrate, has strongly opposed the plan as presented, but has consistently left open the door for an agreement. If he votes against it ultimately (the council must vote by Nov. 18), the city would have to try to round up enough votes from the rest of the membership, a tall task as most typically defer to the local representative.

Bloomberg Steps Into Willets Point Lobbying Push


Taxpayer said...

Let's watch the council members on this.

We already know that they are quick to give themselves and the Commissar something of great value they are clearly not authorized (by the voters) to give or take: a longer time in office.

So, how will they treat the private property, privately paid for, privately developed, but now publicly craved by the Commissar and his very wealthy developer cronies?

Will these council members once again abuse power and reach into our pockets to hand that private property over to wealthy developers?

And, then reach into our pockets to simply give those developers nearly $5 BILLION dollars to fritter away?

Just how destructively wretched are these council members?

Anonymous said...

anyone who votes this thru should be voted out!!!!

Anonymous said...

Keep adding Zeros on the plan "taxpayer"

The City has allocated 400 million for the plan. Not ONE BILLION and certainly not FIVE BILLION of taxpayer dollars.

The dollars spent on purchasing, remediating and providing infrastructure will be recouped from the developer. So there is actually very little taxpayer dollars being spent here.

Despite your Rantings.

Anonymous said...

Leiber has admitted that the City will have to compromise the amount it recoups from the developer, if any, if that's what it will take to bring a developer on board. So at present, there's no assurance that taxpayer money will be recouped. In fact, given the economic climate, the developer will likely push hard to pay a minimal amount, if anything at all, for the property.

Anonymous said...

In any case if they give the cleaned up land and infrastructure we are still only talking about a 400 million dollar expediture NOT a BIllion or FIVE Billion taxpayer dollars

And this amount includes monies for the new highway access ramps going into and out of Willets Point.