Activists continue fight against Target

Anti-gentrification group takes case to the state Supreme Court

Queens Neighborhoods United, along with Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Corona), state Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-East Elmhurst) and community members, is continuing the fight against Target in Elmhurst, which is planned to be built at 40-31 82 St.

The anti-gentrification group on Sept. 30 filed a legal challenge in state Supreme Court, contending that the building violates area zoning codes.

Zoning limits stores in the area to 10,000 square feet but Target’s planned 23,000-square-foot store includes cellar space that isn’t counted.

It was a state court that ruled in 1997 that cellar space does not count as part of a building’s floor area, in a case concerning Raritan Development Corp.

“Every day that the illegal construction continues makes it harder for residents and small business owners in the neighborhood to stop Target,” said Paula Segal, an attorney for QNU. “We’re asking the high court to step in and enforce the law before it’s too late.”

The city’s Department of Buildings issued a permit and the Board of Standards and Appeals later upheld it after QNU filed an appeal. The BSA ruled 4-1 on June 4 in favor of Target.

“When a zoning regulation clearly states that stores ‘are limited to 10,000 square feet of floor area per establishment,’ that’s exactly what it means,” Moya said. “... It does not mean a store can completely disregard that limit if it hides part of the establishment in the cellar, as is the case with the proposed Target.”