An open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio:
The Bloomberg administration ignored small businesses and the needs of the little people, pursuing instead a long romance with real estate moguls. It also did not take the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure seriously nor the public trust doctrine, which requires approval of the state Legislature before any parkland is given over to non-park use.
In the early stages of your administration, you have an opportunity to distance yourself from Bloomberg’s abysmal record as aforesaid and to inform the public if you give great weight to the ULURP procedure and park alienation requirements and if you favor the interests of real estate moguls over that of small businesses and the little people.
A case in point is the Willets Point project. I am not referring to the original approved 2008 plan, but a scheme hatched by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York Mets and its Related Cos. and Sterling Equities and multibillionaires who violated the law by circumventing park property alienation requirements and ULURP and gave them the keys to the city treasury and the right to construct a 1.4-million-square-foot shipping mall on the Citi Field parking lot, which is part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Litigation is now pending that would prevent the construction of the 1.4-million-square-foot shopping mall at Citi Field until there be full compliance with ULURP and park alienation legislation. It is to be noted that if there be compliance with these requirements and the project approved, it could then proceed.
But it should not be permitted without full participation of all the affected community boards.
You are not bound by the actions of Bloomberg and you can direct your Corporation Counsel not to contest the litigation (New York County State Supreme Court Index No. 100101-2014).
Let right be done, demonstrate your respect for the rights of our communities, disdain for any attempts to avoid ULURP and park alienation requirements and join in seeking judicial relief to accomplish that result.
Benjamin M. Haber