Jackson Heights residents take Target, developers and DOB to court

Today residents from Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst took Target, the developers Sun-Equity Partners and Heskel Group and the Department of Buildings to the New York Supreme Court. They argued that construction at the 40-31 82nd St site should stop, and that the developers violated zoning regulations that only allow small businesses to be established in the area.

You can track the proceedings in the case here, using index number 101700/2018.

Here’s Grace from Queens Neighborhoods United, on the threat the development poses to local small businesses, and hazards for people accessing Elmhurst hospital just a block away.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgoZmes5EaI

As she says in the video, if small businesses have to close, “This is serious for our community, where over 30% of local jobs are provided by local small businesses.”

The judge deferred the ruling to the Board of Standards and Appeal, and denied a stop work order. The next step for the community members is taking the case to the Board of Standards and Appeals on March 7.

There was an interesting exchange in the court proceedings that hinged on the word “monumental”.

“We’re not talking about a monumental edifice here in the middle of a low rise community,” said the developers’ attorney.

To which the plaintiff’s attorney, from the Community Development Project, replied: “This is a monumental construction. It’s not a tower. It is a monumental hole in the middle of a residential neighborhood that is – has – local retail.”

“M’am, monumental is relative,” replied the judge.

“It is, it is relative to this neighborhood,” the plaintiffs’ attorney said.

More background and neighborhood perspectives at Times Ledger and the Jackson Heights Post.

Read the petition.