From Little Neck Patch:
Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Whitestone, introduced two bills this week that would enable community boards and the borough president to fight decisions made by the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals.
Halloran accused the city agency of consistently ignoring community input before granting variances to developers.
“Zoning variances are a powerful tool, which some developers have used to fundamentally change our neighborhoods,” the councilman said. “Our current laws let developers run wild with variances and doesn’t provide us with a way to keep them in line and preserve the character of our communities.”
The Board of Standards and Appeals could not be reached for comment.
Halloran’s first bill would give local community boards and Borough President Helen Marshall the ability to appeal decisions made by the BSA. The appeal would then be heard by the City Council, which would vote on whether to grant the variance.
Currently, the BSA has the final say on whether to approve a variance.
The second bill is meant to ensure that developers abide by variances granted to their properties. Under the legislation, the BSA would be required to notify a property owner that they must apply for a new variance six months before their current one expires.
If a property owner operated for six months without an updated variance, they could be fined by the city.
Currently, there are no penalties for developers operating at properties with expired variances.