As a six-story hotel project looms on the horizon, College Point residents say their neighborhood is in danger of being overdeveloped.
Located at 18th Avenue and 128th Street, the site of the proposed business was formerly home to a one-story building, which has since been demolished. The plot is located in a M1-1 zoning district, which allows for hotel use.
State Senator Tony Avella and residents met on the premises at 14-61 127th St. to rally against the plans on April 10. The neighborhood is in danger of being overdeveloped, Avella said, and overloaded with hotels.
“It’s like trying to put 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5-pound bag, and the bag breaks,” Avella said. “College Point has had enough development and we certainly do not need another hotel.”
Kathryn Cervino, vice president of the College Point Civic and Taxpayer Association, said the neighborhood is already over-saturated.
“There’s no need for what would be a fourth hotel in this town,” the lifelong resident said. “And when the need for a hotel diminishes, what we’ve seen all around the boroughs is they become transferred into homeless shelters.”
Cervino also expressed concerns with existing neighborhood infrastructure, which she said would not be able to handle the additional strain.
“The infrastructure of this community was just not built to handle this many people and this type of use,” she continued.
The city put a hold on the project in December after an audit revealed a nursery was planned for the second floor of the building. As this use is not allowed under current zoning, the agency issued an intent to revoke the permit until developers filed new plans. New plans have been filed with the city since then.
Avella said he has written to DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler twice “with very specific concerns.” He also said he has held multiple meetings with the developers in the hope the plan could be altered. After agreeing to come up with an alternate use for the site, Avella claimed, the owners went back on their word.
“We’re gonna fight this to the bitter end,” he said. “[College Point] was part of suburbia in an urban environment. That has changed because of overdevelopment over the past 20 to 30 years.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Buildings said the city has not yet issued a permit for the new building, as the plans are currently being examined by the agency. The plan was disapproved during its most recent plan exam on April 11 because all of the required documentation was not submitted by the owner.
“DOB is responsible for ensuring that all building projects comply with the NYC Building Code and Zoning Resolutions and will not issue permits for non-compliant projects,” the spokesperson added.
Property owner Lisa Ye said she has spoken to members of the community who support the construction project. She and her team have been in conversation with Avella, as well as Community Board 7, about the project.
A hotel is allowed under current zoning, she noted.
“I want the community to be happy. They’re living there,” Ye said. “I want us to work together.”