Modified version of EDC’s plan moves to Council

Commission finds affordability issue outside its scope of review, modifies other aspects of plan. On September 24, 2008, the City Planning Commission approved a modified version of EDC’s Hunter’s Point South Redevelopment Plan. EDC’s plan seeks to create an affordable, middle-income community along the waterfront in Long Island City. The plan calls for 5,000 new residential units, 60 percent of which would be affordable to middle-income families of four making $55,000-$158,000. 5 CityLand 125 (Sept. 15, 2008).

At the Planning Commission’s August 13th public hearing, opponents focused their criticism on the affordability component of the plan. A representative of the Pratt Center stated that most Queens residents would be priced-out of the new development because more than 60 percent of residents make less than the proposed minimum affordable income of $55,000. Opponents urged EDC to revise the plan so that 50 percent of all units would be within the price range of those at or below the median income for Queens’ residents, or those considered low- and moderate-income families.

The Commission made several modifications to the plan, but did not recommend any changes to the affordable housing component. The Commission’s modifications included: mandating tower top articulation on all four sides of buildings that exceed 165ft. in height, increasing the transparency requirement for ground floor commercial uses from 50 to 70 percent, increasing minimum base heights from 40 to 50ft. in certain areas, and prohibiting balconies in portions of buildings below a height of 70ft. With respect to the affordable housing component, the Commission stated that specific income levels were “beyond the scope of this action.” The Commission did note that the City’s affordable housing crisis affects middle-income families, and not just low-and moderate-income families. It further added that, while “a number of housing programs” have been created for low- and moderate-income housing, no new programs have been created for middle-income housing since the Mitchell-Lama program expired in the mid-1970s.

Review Process
Lead Agency: Office,Deputy Mayor for Eco.
Dev., FEIS
Comm.Bd: QN 2,App’d, 20-0-0
Boro.Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 12-0-0
Council: Pending

CPC: Hunter’s Point South (C 080362 ZMQ – rezoning); (N 080363 ZRQ – text amend.); (C 080276 MMQ – City map amend.); (C 080364 PQQ – acq. of property); (C 080365 HAQ – UDAAP) (Sept. 24, 2008).

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