Defying the de Blasio administration, the City Council passed a resolution today to support a major Queens development in court.
The City Council voted overwhelmingly to attach an amicus brief reaffirming its approval of a 2013 plan to redevelop Willets Point, Queens. Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat the liberal-leaning Council typically sides with, chose not to stand with the pair of developers after an appeals court ruled earlier this summer that the $3 billion project illegally gobbles up city parkland. The developers, Related Companies and Sterling Equities, challenged the ruling, and won a victory in November when the state’s highest court opted to consider the appeal.
But at least one Queens city councilman disagreed. Councilman Rory Lancman broke with the Queens Democratic establishment to vote down the resolution, agreeing with the rationale of the lower court that the parkland near Citi Field could not be alienated without approval from the State Legislature. He also said the Council didn’t have to be bound by Bloomberg era terms.
‘The intermediary appellate court has found, correctly in my view, that using the land in question for a shopping mall would improperly alienate parkland without the authorization of the state—an important safeguard against the permanent giveaway of cherished public spaces for minimal public benefit,” Mr. Lancman said.