For more than a year, manufacturers have been waiting impatiently for Mayor Bill de Blasio to articulate how he plans to protect them from encroaching housing, hotel and other nonindustrial development. On Thursday, they will get their first clue.
In his fiscal 2016 executive budget, Mr. de Blasio will propose to nearly triple funding for the city's eight industrial business service providers to $1.5 million from this year's $570,000, which itself was an increase from zero in the mayor's first budget proposal (the council restored the funding, as it did when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg moved to eliminate it a year earlier).
Not only is Mr. de Blasio proposing to increase the funding but to baseline it, meaning it will be the minimum amount provided by the administration each year going forward. The City Council could still negotiate to add more, as it did last year when it increased the pot by $830,000 for a total of $1.4 million.
The mayor's budget will also include $450,000 for new industrial and manufacturing training to give workers the skills that industrial employers seek. It will be similar to the technology talent pipeline announced by the mayor last year.
Also from Crains:
City Planning Commission Chairman Carl Weisbrod said there are no plans to rezone any of the city's 20 industrial business zones, though some tinkering around the edges may be warranted—a comment that baffled some business advocates.
"We are certainly not contemplating wholesale, area-wide rezonings within IBZs," Mr. Weisbrod testified at a City Council hearing Wednesday. Some IBZs have "inappropriate boundaries," he said, and acknowledged approving a handful of applications for spot rezonings at the "peripheries" of the zones.
These rezonings have been infrequent and minimal, he said. But reaction to his comments highlight the deep anxiety felt by many industrial business owners in the city.
Leah Archibald, executive director of Evergreen, an industrial business service provider in north Brooklyn, said questioning the borders of some zones made little sense.
"The IBZ boundaries were revised last year," she told Crain's. "Even in our rapidly changing neighborhood, little has changed so much that it would necessitate any boundary revision in the near future."