EXPLANATION OF TERMS:
Also see this Glossary compiled by the LIC Climate Coalition.
ZONING: These are rules that say what can be built in a certain area. For example, a few blocks could be zoned residential: this would allow for only apartments and houses. Other blocks could be zoned for industrial or commercial use. This means that only factories and certain businesses would be allowed. Zoning also determines how tall developers are allowed to build.
RENT REGULATION: Many NYC apartments are rent-regulated, meaning that the landlord can only raise rents by a set amount. This amount is set each year by the Rent Guidelines Board, here in NYC. Each year, there are fewer and fewer apartments that are rent regulated, because when the rent goes over $2,700, the apartment is permanently decontrolled. Most laws determining the strength of rent regulations are not made here in NYC, but by the State government, up in Albany.
COMMUNITY BOARDS: Community Boards are comprised of local residents, and each board represents a few neighborhoods. Community Boards make recommendations on issues such as parking, housing, parks, schools, and transportation. Community Boards cannot pass laws, though. Public meetings are held once a month. There are 51 community boards in NYC, each representing a district. LIC is Community Board 2, and Astoria is Community Board 1.
CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS: The City Council passes laws governing our city. There are 51 council members, each representing a district. They are elected every four years. Jimmy Van Bramer is the council member for LIC, and Costa Constantinides represents Astoria. Council member have the final say on changes on zoning changes in their districts.
NYCHA: The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) was created in 1935 to provide affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. More than 500,000 New Yorkers live in NYCHA apartments. The Federal Government (HUD) cut NYCHA funds by $35 million in 2017. NYCHA has $17.1 billion worth of repairs to make on roofs, boilers, repainting, etc.—thanks to years of HUD funding cuts.
BQX TROLLEY: The Brooklyn-Queens connector is a proposed street car that would run along the waterfront all the way from Astoria to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The BQX was the idea of big real estate developers, who want to build luxury housing along the route it travels. These luxury towers would cause surrounding rents to rise. The BQX would cost at least $2.5 billion to build. It would probably require an additional fare on top of the subway or bus, which would put the cost out of reach for most working New Yorkers. Running express buses along the waterfront would cost far less than the BQX trolley, and wouldn’t create as much incentive to build luxury housing.