From the Daily News:
STEAMED over plans to redevelop a veterans facility in St. Albans, a Queens congressman is threatening to block them unless "very standoffish" federal officials heed calls for a full-service hospital.
Rep. Gregory Meeks told the Daily News that he made a pact with City Council members to deny potential zoning changes linked to the proposal for nonveterans housing.
"That's our ace in the hole," said Meeks (D-Queens). "They think they can move forward not being responsive to us? We're going to fight it every step of the way."
A developer picked by the Veterans Administration wants to modernize medical facilities on the 55-acre property, while adding nonveterans housing and green space.
The developer, St. Albans Village LLC, is still drafting its final vision.
But veterans and community leaders have called for the lot at 179th St. and Linden Blvd. to remain veterans only, with a full-service hospital, hospice and women's shelter.
Meeks said the federal government has not replied to his letters backing the veterans, so he huddled with Councilmen Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and James Sanders Jr. (D-Springfield Gardens) and both agreed to vote down potential zoning switches.
Comrie, however, questioned Meeks' efforts to fight the project.
"I've supported the full-service hospital before he did," Comrie said. "I don't understand why he hasn't been able to put a coalition together on the federal level."
Not only that, but local zoning laws do not apply to projects on federally owned land.