Un-Commons dilemma for state senator?
Jun 01, 2010 | 3402 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hey, has anybody noticed that State Senator Toby Stavisky has been eerily quiet on one of the – if not the – biggest development project in her district currently making its way through the city ULURP process?

In case we need to catch you up to speed, we're talking about Flushing Commons, the proposal to transform the approximately five-acre Municipal Lot 1 in Downtown Flushing into a massive mixed-used development. The project has been causing a lot of controversy in the neighborhood, mainly from the existing business owners who fear that the loss of parking in the busy congested businesses district will all but kill their livelihoods.

The proposal does call for public parking – in fact, technically more public parking than currently exists in Muni Lot #1 - although the numbers have been a source of debate and just how much that parking will cost compared to the relatively low rates of the current lot is a source of worry and concern.

But more importantly to the local businesses, it will take years to build Flushing Commons, during which time there will be no parking at the site, and the businesses that surround the lot will have the difficult task of trying to attract customers while operating virtually in the middle of a massive construction site.

All in all, it's a big project that politicians like to get out in front of, if for nothing else than to get their mug in the paper. For instance, Councilman Peter Koo has come out in favor of the project, and while that has irked some of his constituents, it's also put him at the forefront of the issue.

Perhaps Stavisky might have some familial issues with supporting or coming out against the project. As it turns out, a group of local merchants fighting the project have hired The Parkside Group, a lobbying firm with strong connections in Queens, to work on their behalf.

And if you want to talk connections, a higher-up over at Parkside just happens to be Toby Stavisky's son, Evan. Maybe that explains why Stavisky has been reluctant to wade into the murky waters of Flushing Commons.

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