Protecting a Local Retail Zoning District from an Illegal Underground Shopping Mall

TakeRoot’s Equitable Neighborhoods team represents Queens Neighborhoods United (QNU), New York City Council Member Francisco Moya, New York State Senator Jessica Ramos, Desis Rising Up and Moving and individual QNU members in litigation against the City and the developer to enforce the zoning regulations designed to limit retail uses in residential areas. Developers are seeking to build an underground mall that will draw people from outside the community to shop in Elmhurst, Queens, in violation of the zoning of the property.

Administrative Advocacy

The Board of Standards and Appeals in a little-known appointed body empowered to grant variances from zoning law to developers and to review decisions of the Department of Buildings. TakeRoot’s Equitable Neighborhoods team represents community organizations seeking to challenge construction permits for projects that violate zoning before this body. Documents submitted before the Board can be found here.

Click for Decision.

Court Documents

2018: Request for injunctive relief
Memorandum of Law

2019: Appeal of Board of Standards and Appeals decision
Affidavit of Tania Mattos Jose, QNU, with all public submissions to BSA as exhibits
Affidavit of Alexandra Owens, QNU, with permits that developers have gotten to do construction work on nearly every Saturday since construction started
Affidavit of Jorge Cabanillas, describing police intimidation during public hearings
Affidavit of Council Member Francisco Moya describing rezoning developers sought and did not get
Affidavit of Senator Jessica Ramos
Affidavit of Zoning Expert Richard Nagan
Affidavit of Daniel Carpenter-Gold with evidence that Target refers to its stores as “department stores”