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City Planning to make proposals for Flushing riverfront in the fall

City Planning says it will have recommendations ready for the Flushing riverfront project in September.
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The Department of City Planning said it will release preliminary recommendations this fall for a project to revitalize the Flushing waterfront and bring affordable housing to the area.

In 2011, the Flushing-Willets Point-Corona Local Development Corporation got a $1.5 million state Brownfield Opportunity Grant to finance its Flushing Riverfront Project, which would clean up and rezone 60 acres on the Flushing waterfront. The project would create a planned community with waterfront access and housing and commercial space.

City Planning decided to integrate the corporation’s project with its study of Flushing West, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-year affordable housing plan.

The agency plans to conduct outreach events in September, make some recommendations in October and start the environmental review process in November.

The review process would entail looking at a variety of environmental issues, including noise, air quality and the potential for any hazardous materials in the areas the agency rezones.

“We would have to assess on a whole variety of issues the land-use changes and how they would create a different set of outcomes than what the current zoning would produce and evaluate that incremental change as part of the need for additional transportation or transit activity,” John Young, director of the City Planning’s Queens office, said.

The study area, which covers 32 acres, runs from Prince Street to Flushing Creek on the west, Roosevelt Avenue on the south and Northern Boulevard on the north.

Three-quarters of the study area is zoned C4-2 for a commercial and residential zone. The northern part of the study has M1-1 zoning, or light manufacturing. The northern part along the waterfront is zoned M3-1, or heavier manufacturing.

The most recent town hall on the project, held Aug. 20 at the Flushing YMCA at 138-46 Northern Blvd., consisted of roundtable discussions on open space in parks, transportation, affordable housing, land use in the public realm and concerns about the water quality of Flushing Creek.

“I think we got some really interesting ideas about improving wayfinding between downtown and Flushing Meadows Corona Park,” Young explained.

City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) is meeting with City Planning in the next couple of weeks to discuss community feedback and the agency’s next steps.

He said community insight is crucial given the project’s size.

“We worry about transportation, schools and garbage pickup when there are so many people in the area, and infrastruc­ture.” Koo said. “We are concerned about all of those things. Eventually I think it’s good for the community if we develop Flushing West.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

Posted 12:00 am, August 30, 2015
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