Pol opposes developer’s rezoning plans for veterans facility in Queens

February 08, 2011 01:07PM

Rep. Gregory Meeks of Queens has made a pact with City Council members to deny potential zoning changes linked to a development proposal for a veterans facility at 179th Street and Linden Boulevard in St. Albans, he told the Daily News. The congressman is threatening to block the proposal unless “very standoffish” federal officials consider requests for a full-service hospital. “That’s our ace in the hole,” Meeks said. “They think they can move forward not being responsive to us? We’re going to fight it every step of the way.” The developer, St. Albans Village LLC, which was picked by the Veterans Administration, wants to modernize medical facilities on the 55-acre property, while adding non-veterans housing and green space. Veterans and community leaders have called for the space to remain veterans only, with a full-service hospital, hospice and women’s shelter. Meeks said the federal government did not reply to his letters backing the veterans, and so he joined forces with Council members Leroy Comrie and James Sanders Jr., who both agreed to vote down potential zoning switches. Comrie, however, questioned Meeks’ efforts to fight the project. “I’ve supported the full-service hospital before he did,” Comrie said. “I don’t understand why he hasn’t been able to put a coalition together on the federal level.” VA spokesperson John Mazzulla also said that the agency has had “open communication” with Meeks for years. “No care is going away that’s being provided now,” he said. [NYDN]