There was not a whole lot new to report from yesterday's scoping session held by NYC's EDC. There was a small but unified group who insisted that 20% of Hunters Point South should be set aside for "low income" housing and 30% for "middle income", which is contrary to the current plan to offer 60% to for middle income, which in this case is defined as family income between $50k and $150k. I'm not sure why the low income folks chose a 50% total number rather than the 60% the city was proposing, but, whatever. Here are 4 issues that I raised in the comments part of the meeting:
1- The project is too dense. 5 Million Square feet of residential is the equivalent to 10 Citylights buildings. That's too many, and add a 150,000 sq. ft school, and parking for thousands somehow wrapped by the buildings, and not only is it too dense, I kind of doubt that it's even feasible.
2- Hunters Point needs parks and it seems that the City is passing up a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a perfect property and make one of the city's greatest parks. The plan does call for parkland of 10 acres, but most of it is on the shore line and I get the feeling that part of the 10 acres is actually 'open space'- roads, sidewalks, etc.. If anything they should cut 2 of the planned 6 40 story towers and make the point a park.
3- No mention of the 7 train at all. No plan on how 20,000 to 30,000 additional people are going to cram onto the train at the Vernon Jackson station.
4- Although Joe Connoly from CB2 tells me that there is an ownership component to the "affordable housing", I'm not hearing that much from the City. I'm not sure why the City somehow thinks that subsidising housing on a persistence/rental basis is somehow a great thing. A great thing would be to help low and middle income families own their homes. I think there is no question that ownership promotes pride and a better kept development. The city should be helping low and middle income citizens buy homes, so that they are not low and middle income for life. In the long run these families will lift up, set roots in the city, and add to the stable tax base of the city. It will also make those folks buying high priced condos in the neighborhood alot more comfortable in their investment and the prospects for Hunters Point's long term viability.