Editorial from the Queens Chronicle:
Community Board 7 approved the Flushing Commons project that will replace Municipal Parking Lot 1 on Monday night after months of debate over the mixed-use business and residential development.
The board attached several “conditions” to its approval, but as one member pointed out, those are really just a wish list, since the panel only has advisory authority, not statutory. The city can essentially do what it wants in Flushing, as elsewhere, and what the administration wants is development.
But the community, especially downtown, is getting overburdened with one project after another. Overdevelopment is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s getting hard to see how the many projects that are transforming Flushing’s skyline don’t amount to too much at once.
In addition to Flushing Commons, there are SkyView Parc, the massive condo and shopping complex going up on College Point Boulevard; the New Millenium residential project proposed for the north side of Northern Boulevard, and the recently completed Queens Crossing commercial building across the street from Muni Lot 1.
No wonder the board wants the city to do more for the community — like insist that additional parking be installed at Flushing Commons and that a school be built on Northern Boulevard. And no wonder more and more people are saying enough to the endless parade of projects.
Adding parking spaces downtown — somewhere, somehow — is crucial. The dense, bustling region may seem more and more like an eastern outpost of Manhattan as buildings and population rise together, but it’s still in Queens. Compared to the city, this is car country, and visitors and residents alike need spaces. It’s just not Times Square.
At least as important is the need for a new high school. The plan was for one to be built at the Home Depot site on College Point Boulevard when the supply store was planning to move into SkyView Parc. But that deal fell through and Home Depot is staying put, leaving more Queens students in wildly overcrowded facilities.
So let’s go beyond CB 7’s requests and make a new demand of the city: No more big projects should be allowed to go through even the early stages of approval unless the next developer who comes along sets aside at least one acre for a high school. In exchange the builder could get whatever change of zone is necessary — and they always are for projects of this nature. That would be a fair deal for all.
Yes, because all a community needs as mitigation for the grandiose developments shoved down their throats is land set aside for a high school.