An elected official is proposing major changes to the city's land-use process after community opposition led the City Council to reject two projects earlier this year.
The developments would have included about 375 affordable apartments, and more could soon be lost: Protesters recently shut down a meeting about a Williamsburg proposal that planned for 1,146 apartments, according to the developer, perhaps a third of them affordable.
Councilman Antonio Reynoso released a white paper Tuesday arguing for more community engagement whenever projects proposed by private developers need approval from the city. The idea is for developers to address local concerns early, thus tempering the sort of opposition that led lawmakers to denounce a 209-unit affordable development proposed for Sunnyside and a 355-unit building proposed for Inwood that would have been half affordable. The developer of the Sunnyside building withdrew its application before it could go to a vote, while the Inwood proposal was rejected by the City Council, which votes as a body on land-use matters but typically defers to the wishes of the local representative.
"Under my process, [the community's] concerns hopefully would have been known and addressed earlier," Reynoso said.
The white paper, which Reynoso characterized as a starting point for potentially broader reforms, outlines eight changes he believes would make the city's public review procedure less contentious. The biggest switch would be to publicize plans from private developers well before it is too late to change them.