Special Flushing Waterfront District

Special Flushing Waterfront District (SFWD), a 29-acre development proposal for the Flushing Creek waterfront, has been decades in the making. 

In December 2019, the Flushing Willets Point – Corona Local Development Corporation (LDC) began the 7-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for the Special Flushing Waterfront District. After robust community and citywide opposition, the Dept. of City Planning (DCP) and the NYC City Council approved a 29-acre special district proposal on the eastern shore of Flushing Creek in December 2020. 

The special district enables an entirely private shoreline development with 13 towers, 1,725 luxury condos, and 61 affordable housing units, a foreboding distribution for a neighborhood whose Average Median Income falls below the City's average. The City's current Mandatory Inclusionary Housing policy states that developers are required to include affordable housing in areas that are rezoned. Because the SFWD only requires a rezoning for a small parcel of the district (rezoning a manufacturing zone to a mixed use zone), only that parcel requires affordable housing. 

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Rendering from the Dept. of City Planning

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Potential Impacts

The special district will add over 1,000 new sewage connections to an overburdened Flushing Creek, which receives over 1 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater every year. In addition to further polluting the water, the private luxury development would create economic barriers to waterfront access and will destroy a 40-year old forest, which would have vast impacts on the 13-year old wetland on the opposite bank. 

Our Position

In January 2020, Guardians of Flushing Bay helped spearhead the Flushing for Equitable Development and Urban Planning (FEDUP) coalition. Together with Chhaya CDC, MinKwon Center for Community Action, Flushing Workers Center, and the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, we demanded an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the SFWD. 

In June 2020, Takeroot Justice (a legal nonprofit) filed a petition on behalf of Chhaya, MinKown Center, Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, and Robert Loscalzo against the DCP and NYC City Council, claiming they allowed the developers to illegally bypass the EIS. The judge dismissed the case in October 2021.

Photo by Madeleine Pryor

Flushing Creek Organizing

In February 2021, we partnered with the NY Botanical Garden, the Flushing Anti-Displacement Alliance (FADA), and the Queens College Dept. of Urban Studies to lead a series of species identification (bioblitz) tours to bring attention to the impact of the SFWD on the wetland and forest ecosystems at Flushing Creek. 

We have led tours at the forest on the east side of the creek, the restored wetlands on the west side of the creek, and on water by kayak and canoe at Flushing Bay and Creek. Throughout our organizing and close collaborations with FEDUP and FADA, the bioblitzes morphed into an emergent Flushing Creek organizing campaign, which spotlights the social and ecological impacts of increased shoreline development. Our bioblitz tours are a critical aspect of our SFWD organizing strategy which stresses what will be irreparably lost if the project is realized.

Photo description: Bobby Nathan from the MinKwon Center discussing the impacts the SFWD would have on residents and Flushing Creek.

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Photo by Madeleine Pryor

Bioblitz Impacts

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