For real estate interests, the election of an unabashed liberal as City Council speaker this month was a setback. Another one holding the gavel of the powerful Land Use Committee could have been a real problem. So, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's appointment of Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield as chairman drew sighs of relief. Real Estate Board of New York President Steven Spinola said he expects Mr. Greenfield to be "diligent and fair" in running Land Use, which approves projects.
Unlike other powerful committee heads named, Mr. Greenfield is not a member of the labor-backed Progressive Caucus. He owes his position instead to helping broker the speaker deal for Ms. Mark-Viverito. That could grant him a level of independence.
Ms. Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio are promising broad changes in development policy, including mandatory affordable housing in rezoned areas. Mr. Greenfield did not immediately have a comment on that policy, but said he expected new council rules would leave chairmen "empowered to run committees independently."