Today’s news:

City body OKs Hunters Pt.

Hunters Point South is one step closer to completion after the city Planning Commission gave a thumbs-up to the plan last week.

Helmed by the city Economic Development Corp., the proposed 37.5-acre project will likely go before the City Council's Zoning Franchise Subcommittee Oct. 16 and then for a Council vote Nov. 12, an EDC spokeswoman said.

The project is an offshoot of the Queens West high-rise condominium towers to the north of Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City. Current plans for Hunters Point South include 5,000 apartment units, 60 percent of which will be affordable housing for middle-income households.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg hailed the Planning Commission's decision.

"This week we announced that we have reached the midway point in our $7.5 billion plan to build and preserve affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers," he said. "One of the most vital projects of our historic plan is Hunters Point South, which will create housing affordable for 3,000 moderate- and middle-income families."

But what constitutes "middle income" remains a contentious issue.

The EDC has defined "middle income" based on median household income levels of $55,000 to $158,000 per year, which borough housing advocates say vastly overestimates the earning power of most Queens residents.

"Not one of the units created in either of the developments will be affordable to the average Queens family," said Queens Community House organizer Hannah Weinstock, referring to Hunters Point South and Willets Point. "More than half of Queens' households will be excluded from living in either of the new developments — as a matter of choice — by the Bloomberg administration.

Weinstock cited city Independent Budget Office statistics that showed Queens is home to 23.7 percent of city households earning less than $50,000 per year. The borough has received only 3.7 percent of the apartments affordable to those families under Bloomberg's New Housing Marketplace Program, she said.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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