Saturday, September 10, 2016

Do council members have too much land use power?

From the Observer:

It’s no secret that local Council members typically have veto power over what developments go up in their districts. But after the City Council rejected a rezoning proposal for affordable housing in Inwood when the local member dropped his support, the practice is getting more scrutiny—particularly from a mayor who once held the same sway when he sat in the Council himself.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who served three terms in the council and continues to deal with land use questions as borough president, called the question “a hard one.”

“In twelve years on the Council, the tradition of deference on local land use matters gave me the leverage I needed to negotiate better land use deals for my constituents,” Brewer said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s a tradition that usually produces better outcomes—but like all traditions, it can’t be absolute, and it shouldn’t be abused.”

This kind of local control is not unique to New York City government, says Paul Graziano, an urban planning consultant and Queens preservationist, who said the practice occurs “pretty much everywhere around the country” in state legislatures and in the federal government.

There are examples of local control on larger stages, too—the New York State Legislature itself must receive a “home rule” message to pass a bill if it affects a particular city, locale or municipality.

Graziano said the practice works in constituents’ favor most of the time—often, the city wants to pursue development to which locals are opposed, and they can often influence their local elected official more effectively or directly. Amid that kind of local outreach, Rodriguez, who supported the MIH zoning amendment that paved the way for such deals, seemed to struggle to decide how to vote on Sherman Plaza. A committee vote on the project was scuttled at the last minute, he waffled about whether he’d actually announce a position at a press conference and was even heckled by opponents to the development while he spoke at length before announcing his final decision.


Anonymous said...


Our community boards are a farce. They offer us TOY GOVERNMENT...the illusion that we have some power.
NO , WE DO NOT! Their votes are purely advisory. In other words , they are shooting blanks!
For example, CB7 is already known as the "rubber stamp board". They have approved the overdevelopment of an underserved downtown Flushing hub. Their excuse for this is that these overbuilding projects are "AS OF RIGHT"!
What a poor defense for selling out Flushing.
DM Marilyn Bitterman loves her job. What does this bobble head do for herc$90,000+ salary?

Pull back the curtain and discover it is the Real Estate Board of New York....REBNY...
who has your electeds like puppets (controlled by their campaign contributions) on their strings.
The real estate industry is who REALLY runs City Hall.
Mayor De Blasio is their main act.

Jerry Rotondi said...

I attend very few CB7 meetings thes days.
For one, they give me indigestion.
For another, it's like watching a bad soap opera rerun.
It's chief TV star, Chuck Apellian, needs some acting course refreshers.
Groan! Yawn!
Same old....same old material.
Then come the votes of approval from wannabee power members.
"Mad TV" would make mincemeat out of this stuff.

Anonymous said...

❝It's never a good thing to be right when government is wrong.❞ ——Voltaire

And, as far as ALL worthless community boards and the vile, vapid and vacuous loop of council henchmen, I mean council members who betray them with impunity, following is a timeless song that comes to mind to describe the entire cabal of depraved, entitled and dysfunctional, taxpayer funded sociopathy: ❝Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am——Stuck In The Middle With You.❞ ——Stealers Wheel (Gerry Rafferty)

So, please give a listen and share with me your critical thoughts, Queens Crappers——because Donald Trump was right when he said: ❝All politicians are no good!❞

Jerry Rotondi said...

Thanks much for that great Voltaire quote.
Love it!

I think that this is another attributed to that savvy Frenchman.
"I prefer the wicked to the stupid. The wicked sometimes stop to rest".
Yes....a dummy is a dummy...24/7/365 days of the year.

What is the collective IQ of Queens' politicians?
Also...its voters for that matter....who keep on electing crooks and dummies to represent them?

Am I too cynical for your tastes?
I call it experience!

Having been screwed by a lot of two faced politicians over 30 years, I have come to the conclusion...

Anonymous said...

On the contrary, it is Community Boards which are unelected racketeering organizations (just like civics) where members are promoted for boosterism not competence. Community Boards should be eliminated and their powers be put in the hands of people actually elected, i.e., City Council members.

Anonymous said...

At a recent town hall meeting to discuss converting 225 units of Building "T" of the Queens Hospital on 164th Street, all members of CB-8 had the unmitigated nerve to stand up and go on and on about how GREAT it would be for the community to have housing in that building for 75 severely mentally ill people and the rest of the converted units house homeless families. This property abuts Parkway Village co-ops and is in the immediate vicinity of several schools. There are already low income housing projects and homeless shelters in the neighborhood. It was BLATANTLY obvious who had their greasy palm crossed with under the table silver. People from the community who spoke were very much against the idea, citing damage to their property values, physical damage already done to their homes during previous hospital construction projects, fear of being accosted by mentally ill or homeless residents of that building, fear of neighborhood degradation by panhandlers and increased crime, etc. But the CB-8 folks, to a man, were chirping non-stop about how great this project would be.

This demonstration showed me that community boards are a bunch of malarkey, bought off by special interests or kissing up to politicians. They are worthless entities.

Jerry Rotondi said...

Abolish community boards.
I'm not sure what replaces them, but most are as phony as a three dollar bill!
Dump Chuck Apelian from CB7!
How long has he served? Time for a change!

Anonymous said...

Community board members are recommended to borough hall by the local council members.
There is where the fix is in.
Any member who is approved must be as docile as possible....a bobble head for the chair.
Stray from this straight and narrow and find yourself not reinstated.
Who needs this bull shit?
And I agree with the posters. CB1 and CB7 are two of the shadiest boards in Queens!
Bring on the Feds.

Anonymous said...

RE CB7's Apelian.
Didn't he run Paul Vallone's first city council run and print his campaign materials via his company "Prestone"?
I'd call that a conflict of interest.
Why is he still land use chair? The FBI needs to investigate him.

Anonymous said...

It's killing me Crappy, I don't recognize what part of NYC that is. Where is that?

Queens Crapper said...

It's not NYC, just a generic model.

Anonymous said...

Do you think CB's would be more representative if they were elected? Or even partially so?
If a CB has a population of 200,000 and there are 50 CB members, that works out to 1 CB member per 4000 residents. That would probably work out to approximately 1 CB member per 2000 registered voters.

Anonymous said...

Is somebody interested in doing the math regarding the total expenditures for every community board in NYC ,
and what it cost the taxpayers for what someone has called "toy government"?
CB 7's district manager, Marilyn Bitterman gets $90,000+ a year, plus staff salaries.
How many CBs in New York and what are the total salaries?
Hmmmm....not to mention the under the table perks that land use chairs and DMs get.
CB7 is one of, if not the most corrupt board, in the city!
Kelty and Apelian are perennial figures.
Time to shuffle the deck. Uh....better yet....we need a new fresh honestly deck.