Community approves Flushing Commons

Flushing Commons, the million-square-foot, multi-use development in the heart of downtown Flushing, cleared the first hurdle of the city’s review when Community Board (CB) 7 voted to approve the project at a special meeting.
A total of 12 votes were taken to approve the land transfers, zoning changes and other aspects that Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised as “an important step in the transformation of a five-acre parking lot into a vibrant urban center.”
With the proposed 140-unit affordable housing Macedonia Plaza project, on the same block and part of the 11-item package, the complex of stores, residences and community facilities is slated to create 2,600 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs.
Spectators packed the Union Plaza Nursing Home on Monday, April 5, some raising signs in a last-ditch attempt to sway the 37 voting CB7 members over such issues as more parking and better accommodation for local merchants.
But after a long series of meetings going back years, culminating in a marathon public hearing in mid-March and a final committee meeting on the previous Thursday, the overall project was approved with a “boilerplate” list of conditions, 35 to 2, with one abstention due to a conflict.
The 11 subsequent details passed by even wider margins.
Developer Michael Meyer was ecstatic. “We are honored to have earned such an incredibly strong vote of confidence,” he said, adding that his firm would work with Borough President Helen Marshall and City Councilmember Peter Koo “to ensure that Flushing Commons will be as beneficial and responsive to the surrounding community as possible.”
“The project passed the committee with a lot of conditions attached,” CB7 chair Gene Kelty told The Queens Courier. “We’re going to try to get [the City Council and the Mayor] to listen to us about them,” he added.
The list of conditions outlines neighborhood concerns such as traffic patterns, improvements to the No.7 train terminus at Main Street, and the fate of the current home of the Flushing YMCA – a star feature of Flushing Commons.
The meeting was earlier than usual, to comply with the 60-day window for local approval under the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP.)
The clock is now ticking on the 30-day period for Borough President Helen Marshall to conduct hearings, after which the project goes to the Department of City Planning, which has 60 days to present it to the City Council for a vote.

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