A lawsuit which was brought to block the Willets Point development in Queens planned by developer Stephen Ross’ Related Companies and developer Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities has been thrown out by a judge. Jewish Business News reported on the suit earlier this month.
New York State Senator Tony Avella and City Club of New York had petitioned the courts arguing that construction of the new mall should not be allowed to proceed as it is to be built on an area of land reserved for parks and that the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure was not properly executed.
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But in his ruling, Judge Manuel Mendez said that there was no violation of the public’s trust and refused to issue an injunction against the project. He stated in the ruling, “It has been established that ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] does not apply to the development plans and review of the business terms for the disposition of the parkland formerly used for Shea Stadium. These powers have devolved to [Mayor Bill de Blasio] who has approved the development plan.”
A spokeswoman for the Queens Development Group, which is behind the project, called the decision a “win for Willets Point and all of Queens. It is a significant step forward in the effort to create a new Willets and reverse 100 years of pollution.”
The developers all issued a joint statement saying, “The ruling is unequivocal in saying that the project is consistent with state law and rejecting every argument to the contrary. More important, the decision reinforces the support that the City Council and a wide array of community stakeholders have given to this project.”
The plaintiffs have, of course, vowed to appeal. An advocate for the park, Geoffrey Croft, said, “That ruling is dangerous because it gives all the power to the mayor. If it’s going to be used for non-park purposes, it has to go through the state Legislature.”