Sunday, January 22, 2017
CB2's land use committee rejects Woodside megachurch
WOODSIDE, QUEENS -- In a major victory for the residents and businesses of Woodside, Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee voted unanimously on the evening of January 18 to reject the application of developers to expand and build a six-story 2,000-person capacity megachurch and parking lot. The expansion of the church would include a gym, a spa, television studios, and private apartments with retractable roofs, private roof terraces and balconies for the enjoyment of church leaders.
The megachurch developers have repeatedly failed to make the case as to why the community should support their request for special rights and permission to build this community-killing project that violates the existing zoning code for the land. The developers have presented no meaningful plan to address reasonable concerns that businesses would not survive the disruption to customer traffic as a result road closures from cranes, dumpsters, and other construction measures. The developers also failed to guarantee that they would employ union labor. The unanimous vote by the Land Use Committee is a result of tremendous community organizing and canvassing and demonstrates the kind of power the Woodside community can build when we organize and make our presence known at spaces where decisions are often made without our input.
The Coalition to Defend Woodside and Little Manila is calling on members of the community to attend the full Community Board 2 meeting on Thursday, February 2, 6:30 pm at Sunnyside Community Services 43-31 39th Street. The community board’s vote is advisory. It is then anticipated that the application will go to the Queens Borough President Melinda Katz for a Land Use hearing, where the borough president will make an advisory recommendation. The New York Board of Standards and Appeals is then expected to hold a hearing on the application and will make the final determination to the church’s application to break the zoning rules that everyone else in the community has followed. The coalition is also calling on Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz to oppose the application.
The Land Use Committee voted against recommending the project for approval by the full Community Board by noting that it fails to meet four out of five criteria as defined by Section 72-21 of the zoning resolution. The Land Use Committee found that the plan was out of character with Little Manila, that the hardship the church leaders claimed was of their own creation, that the configuration did not meet the zoning variance regulations, and it was not the smallest possible exception to the rules the church needed to continue their operations.
- Coalition to Defend Woodside & Little Manila