Monday, June 7, 2010
How City Planning pulls their fast ones
Time after time, the Department of City Planning takes on a project meant to "improve the zoning" in a community. Here are the steps, from Amanda Burden's secret tweeding manual:
1) Approach civic leaders and the community board and tell them you hear their concerns and are working on a rezoning plan to stop non-conforming buildings from being built.
2) Wait 3 or 4 years. During this time, release no information. Work on massive upzonings during this time. Those make the mayor and developers happy. Might even get you a raise or promotion!
3) After the torture period has gone on long enough, leak something out to the press that the new zoning is about to be unveiled. Again, release no information. Do not accept input or suggestions; tell the public they can wait until the meetings to speak their minds.
4) Have "community meetings" and unveil the plans. But do not put any information up on city Planning's website ahead of time. God knows we live off the element of surprise.
5) Highlight the areas that you actually are downzoning. Gloss over the areas that you are pretending to downzone but are really upzoning. When questioned, desperately try to convince the public that the upzoned areas that you are putting before them are really being downzoned.
6) If that doesn't shut them up, tell them that revising the zoning at this stage would require more studies, etc, and that will take another year to fix. Explain that if they don't approve the plan now, there will be a delay that will allow more out-of-character development to happen while the revisions are made. Explain that they can do an amendment to fix the zoning that was not to their liking after the initial rezone is passed. They will fall for it and then hopefully forget about the amendment, because heavens knows we will.
7) If this doesn't work, tell the community board they can pass the rezoning with stipulations. When they choose this route, you will wipe your ass with their stipulations when you return to the office.
8) This formula is foolproof.
Now, with this in mind, enjoy this article about the latest Sunnyside rezoning meeting.
Photo from Norwood Neighborhood Association