On June 14th, JFAC along with the LIC Coalition, Primed Out NYC, and the Western Queens Community Land Trust, published a public letter to Jimmy Van Bramer outlining why we’re urging him to say no to the rezoning of Anable Basin.
It is pasted in full below, and can also be found on Medium. There are memes below the letter than can be shared widely to help oppose this project.
Dear Councilmember Van Bramer;
As long-time community activists, residents, and workers, we respectfully request that you immediately and publicly oppose the YourLIC rezoning of the Anable Basin area.
- The proposed development is 12 million square feet — twice the height and at least twice the density of Hunter’s Point South. In exchange for a massive giveaway of public air rights, we will get oversized, unaffordable towers, which will either remain empty because of the Covid economic collapse, or cause upward pressure on surrounding rents.
- We know that the residential units in these towers will be unaffordable to most community residents. It will cause surrounding rents to rise, and will bring in an influx of wealthier, whiter residents.
- In post-Covid NYC, the small business, manufacturing and working artists sectors are being displaced at a rapid rate, and the last thing we need is more luxury office towers. We also know that this type of luxury mixed-use development in former manufacturing zones does not provide good quality jobs to those who need them most — in this case, residents of Queensbridge houses, just blocks away. When we all fought together against Amazon, this was a point of unity for us — and now the same false promise of “jobs for the community” is being used by the YourLIC developers.
- These towers are being proposed on a floodplain: Development at this level of irresponsibility is not only pure folly, but amplifies the increased risk due to climate change onto the existing community. And the amount of public open space is wholly inadequate at this density. Using the entire extant undeveloped public land for park/seagrass/wetland buffer zone would provide some defense against inevitable and imminent sea-level rise. We support the Community Board 2 budgetary request for the purchase of the Lake Vernon site, to be used as critical open space and resiliency, in addition to the same use for the DOE parking lot.
- The YourLIC community visioning process has been fatally flawed from the outset. It has been run by the very people who stand to profit from this rezoning — and is completely biased and undemocratic. The plans have been drafted in secret by the developers, and have been actively supported by the Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The community has been completely cut out of the real planning process — this is a developer-led plan.
- And crucially, Anable Basin includes three publicly-owned plots of land: using public assets for community need has never been more important than now. Public land should be for public use and benefit, not handed over to developers for profit-taking.
This rezoning is so egregious, and the massive scale so wrong for our community, that we don’t think the project should proceed to ULURP: instead, we want to go back to the drawing board. We request a truly objective, community-led planning process that includes well thought-out, already-existing proposals from community groups, including a publicly funded wetlands park, a community land trust in the DOE building, and a public middle school. The privately-held sites can be perfectly profitable if they remain zoned for manufacturing: the community does not owe anyone a rezoning if it’s a bad planning decision. In short, we should not have to accept yet another luxury mega-development in order to get crucial public benefits.
Justice for All Coalition
Primed Out NYC
Western Queens Community Land Trust