Monday, December 24, 2012
Koo supports developer over CB7's wishes
From the Times Ledger:
Two Flushing property owners have built multi-story buildings on a block in hopes the area will be rezoned — a multimillion-dollar gamble that received support from a neighborhood lawmaker last Thursday.
That support, in the form of a letter from City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), in turn created friction between the lawmaker and the community board.
A group of five property owners is seeking to rezone the block between Fowler and Avery avenues and College Point Boulevard and the Van Wyck Expressway. Regulations currently allow a variety of uses under the category of manufacturing. But the group, which collectively owns 85 percent of the block, wants the City Planning Commission to change the zoning to allow residential, commercial or a combination of both.
And even though the zoning change is still being reviewed, some of the property owners have already spent millions erecting structures that would comply with new regulations.
The plan was skewered by Community Board 7 last month over uncertainty of what the final product would look like and what leaders said is a lack of development experience on the part of the owners.
The team received a letter of support from Koo, who hoped the rezoning would revitalize the area, near Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
“The councilman has great respect for the community board and what they do,” said Koo’s chief of staff, James McClelland. “However, in this instance he disagrees with their opposition.”
That did not sit well with the board. Vice Chairman Charles Apelian said Koo’s letter voids the review process, since the Council has the final vote on the matter and members typically vote along the lines of the local lawmakers’ wishes, though Koo’s office contends that giving input after the board makes up its mind is standard procedure.