BY LYNN EDMONDS
For the first time since the Department of City Planning pulled back on redevelopment plans in Flushing West at the end of May, the DCP, Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) and representatives from Community Board 7 discussed the aborted plan publicly.
“We’re not going to be moving forward with our recommendations until we have some solid answers with how we can manage the water quality in Flushing Creek, how we can manage the transit capacity with the no. 7 train,” John Young, Director for the DCP’s Queens Borough Office, said at last week’s Borough Board meeting.
Aims of the Flushing West rezoning plan included building over 1,000 housing units, both market rate and affordable, and creating greater walkability along the waterfront as well as a better quality of life in the still-industrial area.
Koo thanked Young for the DCP’s intensive outreach and study efforts in the neighborhood in the year leading up to the plan’s deferment.
“Thank you anyways, I know you guys spent a lot of time on Flushing West, and we really appreciate the efforts. You have been a really good city planner, I must say that. But planning and execution is different,” Koo said.
Young said he would like to begin addressing overcrowded streets and trains and pollution in the creek, even if the original Flushing West redevelopment plan would not move forward.
“I do think there are issues we do want to move forward on, whether its about supporting the business community there, supporting the improvement, or just for the quality of life for the residents that are there now,” he said.
“We will move forward on other matters,” Koo agreed.
The Councilman left the door open for the plan being brought back in the future.
“Later on maybe they will come back with some solutions, they might clean up the creek, and improve the airport so that all the flights fly over Forest Hills instead of Flushing,” Koo said to groans and laughs.
“Just kidding,” he assured. “It won’t happen.”
CB 7 Chair Gene Kelty expressed relief that the plan was cancelled.
“I’m glad that the Flushing West is stopped. I think that it is silly that it should even move forward, and nothing should move forward until the infrastructures are done,”
But Kelty expressed skepticism that the plan would be put away for long.
“As soon as the elections are over I think you’ll see that resurface again; if not, by the first of next year you’ll see it surface again,” he said.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana