Photo courtesy of Sun Equity Partners

Community nonprofit Queens Neighborhoods United, announced on Oct. 8 that it filed a petition to the state Supreme Court to stop the construction of the 82nd Street Target in Elmhurst.

The group was joined by Councilman Francisco Moya, state Senator Jessica Ramos and Desis Rising Up and Moving in contending that the development of the Target violates zoning laws that prohibit destination retail stores.

“I am worried that the store will bring lots more people into our already crowded neighborhood,” said resident and QNU leader Tania Mattos Jose. “It is going to make it harder to park, to walk on the street and to take the train here.”

The Target has faced fierce opposition since it was announced in 2017. The site is currently zoned as medium density residential area with a commercial overlay. Its R6/C1-3 designation requires retails stores to “serve local consumer needs” and bans development over 10,000 square feet. 

QNU says that the developers, Sun Equity Partners and and Heskel Group, found a loophole to build a 23,000-square-foot space in the zoning by splitting the space above ground and underground. They argue that Target’s current lease prohibits the store from sharing space with the stores permitted by the zoning like laundromats and small food and clothing stores.

QNU also alleges that the Target’s developers have described the development in ways that contradict the language of its zoning designation. Though the zoning only allows for a “small service area,”  the developers referred to the site as a “regional destination” and “rare outdoor mall experience.”

In June, the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals overruled QNU’s appeal that the 82nd Street Target store goes against these zoning rules. Part of the petition targets this decision, arguing that the development’s building permit was “improperly and capriciously upheld by the Board of Standards and Appeals.”

The petition also includes local residents who are concerned that an increase in car and pedestrian traffic will hurt their commute, lead to an increase in accidents and delay access to Elmhurst Hospital, which is located just one block away.

The petition seeks a preliminary order to halt the construction. Sun Equity Partners did not respond for comment. 

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