June 29, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The Sunnyside Yard Steering Committee held its first meeting this week, signaling the start to the 18-month master planning process for a potentially massive development at the Sunnyside Yard site.
The approximately 35-member committee, made up of local leaders and stakeholders in an array of disciplines, met yesterday to begin discussing the master planning process and their role in helping the project’s technical consultant team design it, according to the city.
The city did not provide a breakdown of what was discussed in the first meeting, but noted that the committee will help provide a fresh perspective on what can and should be built over the 180-acre site, including outlining priorities for the first phase of potential development.
The committee, as first announced in May, will also work to figure out how to best engage the public in several interest areas related to development, ensuring that the existing communities priorities are made clear during the mater planning process.
Public meetings, workshops, and canvassing are all engagement activities the steering committee will likely conduct for public input.
The steering committee will also meet about every three months during the master planning process, which concludes roughly by the end of 2019, but could take up to two years.
“We are confident that the Steering Committee will help create an inclusive plan that could deliver on good jobs, affordable housing, open space and improved public transit in Western Queens,” said Cali Williams, Director of Sunnyside Yard, in a statement. “This is just the start of a conversation and we look forward to engaging New Yorkers in envisioning this unique site.”
The master plan, to be developed by the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, along with other engineering and planning experts, is expected to detail features like residential units, affordability, schools, parkland, and more at the site, along with development phases and a potential timeline to carry the plan out.
The city, along with Amtrak, first announced their intention to produce a master plan for the site in May, just over a year after the Sunnyside Yard Feasibility Study was released.
The study said over 80 percent of the yard could potentially be decked over and developed with up to 24,000 residential units, 19 schools and 52 acres of public parks.
The yard has long been eyed for development, with Amtrak approaching the city in 2014 to discuss the possibility of a large-scale development above the yards.