NEW YORK CITY-The City’s massive Willets Point redevelopment plan was approved “with moderations” at a City Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, amidst continued calls by City Council members, ACORN, Queens for Affordable Housing, Pratt Center for Community Development, and Queens residents for the Economic Development Corp. to withdraw it and make major changes. Now, the plan will go to the City Council, where it could be met with strong opposition. Thirty-two members of the council have come out against the plan.

The redevelopment would turn a largely industrial, 13-block area into 5,500 apartment units and more than 1.5 million sf of commercial space. It would also displace about 1,700 workers–likely by using the state’s eminent domain laws to acquire privately owned property.

Pat Boone, president of ACORN NY, tells that “it is wrong for the Bloomberg Administration to push ahead with a plan that gives away so many City resources when New Yorkers are getting so little in return. That is why–without true commitments to affordable housing and protections for workers–the City Council has called this plan dead on arrival. The Council, ACORN and Queens residents will not allow this plan to go through until the City guarantees desperately needed housing that is truly affordable to low and middle-income New Yorkers, and provides for a real plan to keep the workers at Willets Point employed. The City will not be allowed to set this dangerous precedent and give away so much for so little. It’s time for the City to come back to the table and work out a new plan that is much more beneficial for all. If they don’t, the Council will send it back to them.” The mayor’s office did not return a response to Boone’s comment by deadline.

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