A $2 billion development along toxic Flushing Creek will pollute the neighborhood with gentrification, critics say.
Affordable housing activists, unions and mom-and-pop shops have packed public hearings on the waterfront proposal, pushing back against more luxury apartments and designer stores.
And as livid as they are about the revitalization, they are just as angry about the government-approval process — claiming Community Board 7 and ex-Borough President Claire Shulman have steamrolled the project through. After wrapping up 15 years as beep, Shulman set up a nonprofit that makes private investments like the Flushing Creek venture possible.
Their plan — the land is on the opposite side from the infamous junkyards near Citi Field — includes privately maintained roads and public access to the waterfront after an environmental cleanup of the area, polluted for decades by industrial waste.
“We believe this is the poster child for future waterfront development, and a legacy project for the owners who live and work in the community,” said their attorney, Ross Moskowitz, who pointed out supporters have turned out in big numbers at the public hearings — alongside the protesters.
“You can disagree with the project, but to say it has been steamrolled is just not right,” he said, adding the owners have followed the city’s statutory timeline for both land use and environmental reviews. “Already, he said, the owners have spent about 18 months on the reviews.
But opponents still think the process has been shady. As evidence of shenanigans, they point to Chuck Apelian, CB7’s first vice chair and land use committee chair, acting as a paid consultant to the developers and to Shulman, who received more time to speak during a Feb. 10 public hearing that turned so nasty cops were called. At times, demonstrators shouted “Shame” and “Let us speak.”