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Queens Chronicle

Willets: an illegal project

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Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

(An open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio):

The Bloomberg administration ignored small businesses and the needs of the little people, pursuing instead a long romance with real estate moguls. It also did not take the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure seriously, nor the public trust doctrine, which requires approval of the state Legislature before any parkland is given over to a nonpark use.

In the early stages of your administration you have an opportunity to distance yourself from Bloomberg’s abysmal record as aforesaid and to inform the public if you give great weight to the ULURP, park alienation requirements and if you favor the interests of real estate moguls over that of small businesses and the little people.

A case in point is the Willets Point project. I am not referring to the original approved 2008 plan, but a scheme hatched by former Mayor Bloomberg and the Mets, their Related Companies and Sterling Equities, multibillionaires that not only violated the law circumventing park property alienation requirements and ULURP, but gave them the keys to the city treasury and the right to construct a 1.4 million-square-foot shipping mall on the Citi Field parking lot, which is in fact part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Litigation is now pending that would prevent the construction of the 1.4 million-square-foot shopping mall at Citi Field until there be full compliance with ULURP and park alienation legislation. It is to be noted if there be compliance with these requirements and the project approved, it could then proceed. But, it should not be permitted without full participation of all the affected community boards.

You are not bound by the actions of former Mayor Bloomberg and you can direct your corporation counsel not to contest the litigation (New York State Supreme Court New York County index number 100101-2014).

Mr. Mayor, let right be done, demonstrate your respect for the rights of our communities and disdain for any attempts to avoid ULURP and park alienation requirements and join in seeking judicial relief to accomplish that result.

Benjamin M. Haber

Welcome to the discussion.