Queens project approved when Council failed to act

Full Council rejects resolution but not project. Private developer College Point Holdings I LLC filed four linked applications for its plan to develop 100 units and 100 parking spaces within 26 attached buildings on a two-acre site in the College Point area of Queens. The applications included a rezoning application to alter the site from manufacturing zoning to residential zoning (M1-1 to R4) that allows as-of-right residential development. Also included were two special permits to allow an increase in floor area for the inclusion of open space and community facility space. Also, the developer planned to make improvements to Herman A. MacNeil Park by adding a kayak and canoe storage area, a boat launch, seating, and landscaping.

The City Planning Commission approved the project in April 2008. When the proposal reached the Council’s Land Use Committee in June, it voted unanimously to approve and sent a proposed resolution approving the project to the full Council for a vote. At the Council, however, twenty-five Council members, including twelve Land Use Committee members who had approved the project one week earlier, voted against the resolution, thereby denying it the full Council’s approval. Of those voting “no,” only Council Member Inez Dickens explained her vote, stating that she wanted an affordable housing component.

The no-vote killed the resolution but not the project. In order to kill the project, the Land Use Committee would have had to first pass a new resolution disapproving the project and then the Council would have had to approve the resolution. Theoretically, the Land Use Committee could have sent a new resolution disapproving the project, but the Council’s 50-day ULURP deadline was one day away. So in effect, the full Council ran out of time to act. Under the Charter, when the Council fails to act on a ULURP application within the deadline, the Planning Commission’s approval stands.

Of the 25 Council members, CityLand contacted the twelve members that sit on the Land Use Committee for comment on why they flipped their vote. Of these twelve – Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Charles Barron, Leroy Comrie, Inez Dickens, Simcha Felder, Eric Gioia, Vincent Ignizio, Robert Jackson, Miguel Martinez, James Oddo, Larry B. Seabrook, and Albert Vann – only Barron responded, saying he could not support the resolution because the project lacked an affordable housing component, and speculating that other committee members sought to “punish” Avella for past statements.

ULURP Process
Lead Agency: CPC,Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: QN 7,App’d, 32-4-1
Boro.Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 12-0-0
Council:Waived Vote

Council: College Point (June 12, 2008).

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