Author Topic: Nine stories not enough, city planners approve four more at "Target" building  (Read 13730 times)

Offline lmaniace

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The NYC City Planning Commissioner approved a spot zone change yesterday, allowing four extra floors on the "Target" building (the old Jackson Theater) on 82nd Street. Clearly a blatant give-away to the real estate industry (the folks who run NYC.) This building will create a traffic nightmare, jamming up a key ambulance access road to Elmhurst Hospital. And make no mistake, this will be followed up by similar redevelopment of other smaller buildings in the area. 
 
Now the zone change request goes the the City Council where if tradition holds, the Council member in whose district the zone change resides gets the final word. (Francisco Moya.)

In this case, however, Elmhurst Hospital sits in Councilman Dromm's district and some believe he has reasonable cause to speak out in opposition to the zone change. We are talking about the major medical institution for a good chunk of Queens; what's more a major part of the city's hospital system.

Don't have time to comment much more now since I'm at work.

Offline JK resident

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If Katz and Moya support it, Dromm will not be able to block it. I guess big money donations will all the time.

Offline lmaniace

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Jackson Heights resident, attorney, and member of the NYC Planning Commission Larisa Ortiz voted no on the zone change. She made the following comments on the proposal, which would allow the developer to build 13 stories rather than the maximum of nine now permitted. Her main concerns were ambulance access to the hospital and the city's archaic 1961 zoning revision  calls for far more parking than would be needed in an area only one block from the subway. This excess of parking runs counter to the city's goals to cut the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

 
First I would like to say that I support density - and certainly affordable housing - at transit rich locations.  Our city's robust economic growth depends on supporting a growing population and in ensuring that people of all incomes have healthy, safe places to live.

I have two issues with this proposal. The first is not unique to this site. The original 1961 zoning undercuts the city’s sustainability goals with high parking requirements – and then allows even more parking beyond the requirement – all at transit rich locations.  As a result, under this rezoning, we will have 120 units and 128 parking spaces (above the required 48) only ½ block from a subway station.  I know this zoning text predates all of us here, but it behooves us to revisit it in light our collective OneNYC goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

My bigger concern is the impact this project will have on emergency vehicles to Elmhurst Hospital, a Trauma 1 Medical Center and one of the busiest in the nation, whose emergency entrance is located along Baxter 1 block south of the site. I understand that an as of right scenario would also result in a loading dock at the intersection of Baxter/83nd, however, under the rezoning, we are doubling the size of this development. The commercial alone will go from about 20k sf to over 76k sf, a nearly fourfold increase which will result in more frequent loading/unloading and more 18-wheelers that will need pull forward, block 83nd Street - and emergency vehicles - and then pull back into the dock.  And the cars entering and exiting the lot at this same intersection, serviced only by two elevators I might add, will further exacerbate congestion.

Add to that the fact that the traffic analysis did not take into account the buses that ring this awkward triangular site. When asked about these routes, the development team wasn’t aware of the routes or their frequency. Nor did the analysis take into account the fact that the street pattern, where two street grids clash, mean that 83nd Street provides the ONLY direct north/south connection for nearly 1/2 mile between 77th and 85th Streets. The traffic study states only that sufficient alternative access is available to the east, south and west. Well, there are over 8,000 people who live in the ten block area directly north of the hospital. For them, those reassurances are no consolation.

While the hospital inexplicably chose not to weigh in on this matter, the Uniformed EMT Union did. I wish they had spoken at the hearing. They said this at a recent press event and I QUOTE “There are times this turns into a bottleneck and people can’t get through. We’ve sometimes waited 5-6 minutes to get into the ER. We’ve pulled patients out of the ambulance and walked them in from off the street." END QUOTE

If this project is to advance in its current form, I urge City Council to incorporate restrictions on loading/unloading, reduce the size of the parking facility in line with the city sustainability goals, and require a set aside for car-share vehicles that some studies have indicated replace as many as 15 personal vehicles for every one car-share vehicle. 

With that I vote no.



Offline theplanesland

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Jackson Heights resident, attorney, and member of the NYC Planning Commission Larisa Ortiz voted no on the zone change. She made the following comments on the proposal, which would allow the developer to build 13 stories rather than the maximum of nine now permitted. Her main concerns were ambulance access to the hospital and the city's archaic 1961 zoning revision  calls for far more parking than would be needed in an area only one block from the subway. This excess of parking runs counter to the city's goals to cut the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

 
First I would like to say that I support density - and certainly affordable housing - at transit rich locations.  Our city's robust economic growth depends on supporting a growing population and in ensuring that people of all incomes have healthy, safe places to live.

I have two issues with this proposal. The first is not unique to this site. The original 1961 zoning undercuts the city’s sustainability goals with high parking requirements – and then allows even more parking beyond the requirement – all at transit rich locations.  As a result, under this rezoning, we will have 120 units and 128 parking spaces (above the required 48) only ½ block from a subway station.  I know this zoning text predates all of us here, but it behooves us to revisit it in light our collective OneNYC goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.



Oh man, do I disagree. With the amount of screaming and gnawing and gnashing of teeth that goes on around here from car owners every time any sort of pedestrian improvement endangers their precious street parking, the idea that a building would actually provide parking that doesn't clutter up the curbs sounded like an utter breath of fresh air for me.

Offline Jeffsayyes

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Whatever justification they need to stop a Target from succeeding here, I am all for

Offline JK resident

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Let me understand this: someone wants less parking than 128 spaces provided?
Sounds silly.
While I agree that the city should lessen the parking requirements for residential construction near subway stops based on the idea that people don’t need a car that does not mean we should reject a project for having too many parking spots.

Offline ShinjukuBaby

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Where does the plan put all these parking spots?  An underground garage?  Surface lot?

Offline Shelby2

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Where does the plan put all these parking spots?  An underground garage?  Surface lot?

This says the parking would be located in the sub-cellar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=712&v=HEbZ8k70MaQ

Offline BEB

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My husband sent me this update he spotted on QueensNeighborhoodsUnited's FB page from July 13th. Looks like they are going for a 10 story structure..which isn't that still taller than the 9 stories allowed?  https://www.facebook.com/QueensNeighborhoodsUnited/

"BREAKING NEWS: MILLIONAIRE DEVELOPERS WITHDRAW APPLICATION TO BUILD HIGHER ON 82ND ST!

Following extensive community opposition, the developers have WITHDRAWN their application to rezone 40-31 82nd Street. This is a HUGE victory for our community! After more than a year of organizing - in which the community pressured our elected officials and the developers - Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group announced to the press that they will formally withdraw the application to rezone the site on Monday, 7/16.

We will not forget: Despite serious concerns raised by the community, multiple City Planning Commissioners, and Queens Community Board 4 (which voted overwhelmingly against the spot rezoning in March), Council Member Francisco Moya has been a vocal supporter of the rezoning since early May. CM Moya has made closed doors deals with the developers for more so-called “affordable” units in the project and he along with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz have accepted thousands of dollars from the developers.

If there is anything we have learned from this campaign, it is that we must relentlessly hold our elected officials accountable - it took almost half a year of organizing to pressure CM Moya to withdraw support from the rezoning.

OUR FIGHT IS NOT OVER. The developers have proposed a 10-story building instead of the rezoning, and it is still not for our community. We will continue to fight alongside our neighbors to create spaces that meet our community’s real needs: 100 percent neighborhood affordable housing, support for our immigrant-run small businesses (NOT corporate chains), community space and schools for the next generation."

Offline JK resident

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Probably when you run the numbers to build the additional floors combined with the requirements that a certain portion be affordable, the numbers don’t make sense. It is better to build what is allowed without a rezoning. I think their main idea is to get Target open.

Offline Shelby2

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I'm confused. Why would the developers withdraw their application for rezoning just a few days after they got the green light from the City Planning Commission?

Offline JHResident

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It appears that they didn't like the conditions set on the affordable housing portion of the expansion. They wanted the affordable housing to be more temporary than the zoners would agree to. Instead, their statement said they will eliminate the affordable housing part of the construction and build a 9 storey building "by right". Maybe Lenny can verify if this is true. From looking at the rest of Elmhurst, it's hard to believe that there any zoning restrictions.

Offline JK resident

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The end result is 0% affordable housing. Great job on behalf of our politicians. 9 stories is plenty tall enough and with a target no less. The politicians get to keep the donations. That will not change.

Offline M7X7

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The end result is 0% affordable housing.

If affordable housing is what you want, then any development (even "luxury" development) is good news. The people who will move in to this building would otherwise have been increasing demand for every other building in the area, raising prices. (And the people who were then priced out of those buildings would be increasing demand for cheaper buildings, and so on.) That's the real reason entrenched homeowners fight every new development - they want their property values to keep going up.

That said, there are valid concerns about this building in particular, like slowing access to the hospital with the 100+ cars they're inviting to park there.

Offline jeanette

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"That's the real reason entrenched homeowners fight every new development - they want their property values to keep going up."

uh, no.

homeowners want to maintain what they paid for. they don't want crowds and the reduced quality of life that comes with more people squeezing into a preexisting infrastructure.

Jackson Heights Life