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Public Forum Will Tackle Ways to Stop Gentrification in Queens, Groups Say

By Jeanmarie Evelly | September 16, 2016 8:38am
 A panel Sunday will discuss gentrification and development in Sunnyside and western Queens.
A panel Sunday will discuss gentrification and development in Sunnyside and western Queens.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

SUNNYSIDE — Several groups will host a panel discussion about development and gentrification in the neighborhood Sunday, talking about rising rents in western Queens and ways to keep residents from being priced out of the area.

The panel — dubbed "Jobs, Homes and 'Hoods, Queens is Here to Stay" — will take place at Queen of Angels Parish from 1 to 3 p.m. and will tackle topics like displacement and how to keep small businesses afloat.

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"People in western Queens are very concerned about overdevelopment especially in Long Island City, and what it means for places like Sunnyside and Woodside," said Amy Paul, director of Woodside on the Move, one of 11 groups sponsoring the event.

"Just because you live in Woodside today doesn’t mean you can afford to live in Woodside tomorrow," she said.

She said the event was spurred by a number of recent events, including the controversial Phipps Houses development proposed for Barnett Avenue — an affordable housing project that many critics say is still too expensive for most residents.

The panel will also discuss and advocate for passage of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which would grant more rights to the city's commercial tenants.

Other topics will include the potential impact of the proposed Brooklyn-Queens Street Car and Mayor Bill de Blasio's citywide rezonings that were passed this spring.

"They're all interconnected, the topics, and they're all under the overarching theme of gentrification and displacement," said Kirsten Theodos, an advocate with TakeBackNYC, a group pushing for the Small Business Jobs Survival Act that's helping organize the panel.

"The people of New York are not stupid — they know what's happening," she said. "The more luxury housing that comes into a community is going to drive up rents for everybody, and it's going to displace people."

The discussion will take place Sunday from 1 t o 3 p.m. at Queen of Angels Parish Center, located on the corner of 44th Street and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside. It is open to all.