An open letter to City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing):
In a story that ran Nov. 30 on “Fox 5 News,” Ashley Mastronardi reported on the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association’s efforts to receive New York City Landmark Historic District status for its neighborhood. Broadway-Flushing has already been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, with more than 1,300 properties within its boundaries.
BFHA has spent significant time and capital in our quest to further protect our neighborhood from overdevelopment, which we consider landmarking to do. More than 85 percent of the residents in Broadway-Flushing are in favor of the designation and every elected official that represents our neighborhood has supported us, including state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), former Sen. Frank Padavan, state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and Borough President Helen Marshall. Community Board 7 voted unanimously twice to support the landmarking of our neighborhood in 2005 and 2009.
Which brings us to the point: Your staff member, James McClelland, was interviewed at your constituent office — with you in attendance at some point, as was shown on “Fox 5 News” — for this story.
McClelland first said that “he is against turning the neighborhood into a historical district because development is inevitable and good for the community.” He also said that “it’s tough to legislate good taste or what you think is good taste … they bought the house, they paid the mortgage and unless it’s, you know, mandated by some kind of city code, they should be able to do what they want.”
We are confused as to why he should make this statement when you were a member of CB 7, you voted both times to support the creation of a Broadway-Flushing Landmark Historic District and the area is not in your district and never has been.
We know we have a fantastic neighborhood or we would not have been able to receive National Register of Historic Places status. We know that even with landmarking, new development will take place. Landmarking does not freeze neighborhoods like a fly in amber — it merely helps to protect what is considered architecturally or historically important and makes sure that new development fits in better with the existing neighborhood.
While we support your right to your freedom of speech and opinions, we are disturbed by your opposition to something that has overwhelming support from the residents and property owners of Broadway-Flushing and the elected officials who represent us and that you yourself had previously supported as a member of our community board.
Finally, we are outraged that your staff member would say these opinions on a network television news program without identifying your office as not representing our neighborhood.
Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association