In a meeting with Community Board 7 members Tuesday night, the city Economic Development Corp. announced that it plans to move five Willets Point businesses to the College Point Corporate Park.
According to EDC plans, Feinstein Ironworks, T. Mina Building Supply Co., Sambucci Bros. Auto Salvage, Mets Metals and Flushing Towing would be moved to the Corporate Park and occupy space on two parcels of city−owned land. The EDC said it hopes to begin the public approval process on the proposal Feb. 19.
While CB 7’s College Point Corporate Park Task Force had been aware of the plans, the board’s executive vice chairman, Chuck Apelian, voiced opposition to the immediacy of the process, contending it could quickly put the board in a defensive posture because of the controversial nature of the proposal.
“It’s not good, Tom, it’s not good,” Apelian said after a presentation by EDC Vice President Tom McKnight.
The EDC plan would move Feinstein, T. Mina. and Sambucci Bros. to a parcel of city−owned land along College Point Boulevard on the southern end of the park. Flushing Towing and Mets Metals, meanwhile, would relocate from Willets Point to a spot along the northern portion of the park buffering the abandoned Flushing Airport.
McKnight said the five businesses probably would be the only Willets Point properties to move to the Corporate Park since the city will own very little land at the site if it parts with the two parcels of land. He said the five businesses would buy the property from the city as part of property acquisition agreements they made with the EDC to sell their land at Willets Point.
Apelian, who chairs the task force, took exception with the city plan, saying he was particularly irked that the proposal would be floated without detailed site plans and would address the businesses in two groups instead of separately.
“Each one of these businesses has its own issues and each one should be taken up separately,” Apelian said. “I’m shocked that you’re telling me you’re going to certify this next week. Shocked.”
The EDC said it plans to certify the projects next week by entering the public approval process, also known as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.
McKnight said the procedure is standard practice for the city. He said each of the businesses would be required to conform to the special zoning district proposed for the site and the board would be presented with detailed plans for each of the businesses following the first ULURP proposal.
“We’ll come back to you and you’ll see the types of buildings that are going to be there,” he said.
“As far as detailed site plans, we’re not at that point of specificity yet. This would just mean we have the authority to dispose of the property.”
He added: “The key takeaway here is that the community and electeds will have plenty of opportunities to review this plan.”
Several task force members said there remained “bad blood” among board members because of the controversy that surrounded the recently approved redevelopment of Willets Point and warned if the city takes the same approach of proposing a concept before a detailed plan, the results will not be good.
“I’m telling you right now we are not going to allow anything to be approved with just a sketch,” Apelian said. “You’re putting the board at a disadvantage. If you come to us with just an idea, it’s going to be confrontational.”
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.
©2009 Community News Group
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