By LOUIS FLORES
Borough President Melinda Katz (D-Queens) will hold a Queens Borough Board meeting on Monday, Dec. 1, according to a media advisory distributed Friday.
Scheduled to be discussed during the meeting is an agenda item titled, "Planning for the Future of Queens – an Update on Strategic Initiatives." Carl Weisbrod, a director of the New York City Department of City Planning and Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission, is expected to address the meeting, according to the Borough President Katz's media advisory.
The Queens Borough Board meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday evening, and the meeting will take place in the Borough President’s Conference Room of Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard, 2nd Floor.
According to the media advisory, "The Borough Board is chaired by the Borough President under the New York City Charter and comprised of the borough's City Council members and the chairperson of each Community Board in the borough. The Board focuses on issues dealing with land use, development, public policy, budget, and other important matters with potential borough-wide implications. The Board hears presentations from City officials and others and, as part of the land use review process, is sometimes called upon to vote on land use questions that impact more than one Community Board District."
Queens finds itself in the cross-hairs of real estate developers and government officials for major development, none of which fully addresses the need for the creation of large-scale stock of affordable housing. Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) announced that the city would target Flushing, Queens, for zone-busting development, and the city's Economic Development Corporation has expressed interest in exploiting Jamaica, Queens, for rapid development, as well. Flushing is encompassed in Queens Community Boards 7, 8, and 11, whilst Jamaica is encompassed in Queens Community Boards 8 and 12. Already, a group has formed in Jamaica "to build relationships with private companies" to facilitate real estate investments in Jamaica.
Separately, the city is looking at Queens for the creation of permanent homeless shelters, which is causing turmoil in bedroom communities opposed to inconveniences associated with shelters, even pitting long-term immigrant residents against newly-arrived immigrants. The city is also evaluating the need to create a permanent detention center in Queens for juvenile inmates to comply with new state regulations at the same time when federal prosecutors, in an unrelated action, have recommended to the de Blasio administration the relocation of teenage inmates away from Rikers Island, a recommendation that New York City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D-Queens) said could be accomplished by renovating the now-vacant Queens House of Detention.
All of this is taking place as neighborhoods try to cope with quality of life complaints that never seem to be addressed in the face of pressures for further real estate gentrification, like the short-sighted approval of the Astoria Cove project with minimal provisions for affordable housing, the feared demolition of landmark buildings, like the Queens Plaza Clock Tower, and the further displacement of the poor and working classes caused by higher rents and real estate prices.