Bus terminal proposed for Flushing West

By Madina Toure

Among the proposals included in the Flushing Riverfront project are a mixed-use bus transit center and the creation of a special district for the Flushing West area.

In 2011, the Flushing-Willets Point-Corona Local Development Corporation received a $1.5 million state Brownfield Opportunity Grant to fund the project, which would clean up and rezone 60 acres on the Flushing waterfront and create a planned community with waterfront access as well as housing and commercial space.

City Planning combined the corporation’s project with its Flushing West study as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-year affordable housing plan.

At a public event Oct. 7, the agency shared the preliminary draft land-use plan and held a community discussion, where individuals raised concerns about issues such as the environment, transportation and affordable housing.

The 32-acre study area runs from Prince Street to Flushing Creek on the west, Roosevelt Avenue on the south and Northern Boulevard on the north.

Three-quarters of the study area is zoned C4-2 for a commercial and residential zone. The northern part of the study has M1-1 zoning, or light manufacturing. The northern part along the waterfront is zoned M3-1, or heavier manufacturing.

The mixed-use bus transit center would provide relief to bus congestion from curbside layovers in downtown Flushing.

A City Planning spokesman said the development of the bus transit center would require significant coordination between the MTA, numerous city and state agencies and property owners and developers.

The special district for Flushing West would set maximum building heights ranging from 10 to 14 stories. Additional heights would require review and approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The special district would also require new streets to be built as waterfront sites are developed that extend the road network from downtown Flushing to the waterfront.

A City Planning spokesman said that the proposals are initial recommendations that are not set in stone.

Mandatory Inclusionary Housing will require affordable housing as a condition of new housing development within Flushing West.

The agency is exploring two options. The first would be 25 percent of housing floor area affordable at an average of 60 percent area median income, which is $46,620 annually for a family of three.

The second option would be 30 percent of housing floor area affordable at an average of 80 percent area median income, which is $62,150 yearly for a family of three.

The agency is planning to host a public scoping meeting to discuss the environmental impact of the project. Next year, the agency will hold a public event in which it will share the final draft land-use framework, draft affordable housing strategy and draft city services and capital planning strategy.

It will also participate in public hearings before Community Board 7, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, the City Planning Commission and the City Council.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.