Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fixing the ULURP process

From an Op-Ed by Council Member Geenfield and Borough President Gale Brewer published in Crains:

The current Uniform Land Use Review Procedure requires the Department of City Planning to make development applications public when the Planning Commission certifies them, roughly seven months before the City Council would vote to approve them. But applicants often submit paperwork describing their projects much earlier. Their plans can go through months or even years of pre-certification work. These pre-application forms matter because once an application is certified, it is difficult or impossible to make major changes.

One of us, Borough President Brewer, has made a practice of submitting Freedom of Information Law requests for those forms so her office can get a head start. The other, Land Use Chairman Greenfield, formally requested that they be turned over voluntarily. We both think it’s time to take that approach citywide.

If community boards, borough presidents and council members can review these forms at roughly the same time the Department of City Planning can, then they’ll know what’s coming. They’ll be better equipped to think through projects’ merits and demerits, seek out input from affected stakeholders earlier, and flag community concerns before it’s too late to address them.

So today, as the Committee on Land Use holds an oversight hearing on the mayor’s preliminary budget for the Department of City Planning, the council is requesting—as a “term and condition” of adopting the department’s budget—that pre-application forms be shared automatically with the relevant community board, borough president and council member. A range of data on the pre-application forms will also have to be included in the annual Mayor’s Management Report.

Bringing more transparency to the zoning process will make it less of a high-stakes, zero-sum game. When that happens, we’ll be better able to use zoning to deliver the results—whether it is affordable housing, commercial and manufacturing space, infrastructure, or open space—that our neighborhoods need.


(sarc) said...

More smoke and mirrors.

This will not happen, and if it does, it will NOT be enforced.

Realize, they may have tipped their hand a bit.

"...Their plans can go through months or even YEARS of pre-certification work. These pre-application forms matter because once an application is certified, it is difficult or impossible to make major changes."

Interestingly many, many "minor" changes have added up to quite major changes!
As an aside, there is MUCH profit to be found in "change orders".

The deals are negotiated and struck in the back rooms of City Hall, the Borough Halls, expensive restaurants and taverns. This occurs over many years, sometimes up to twenty years, long before anyone has a clue.

The plans are unveiled when all is perfect and seem as pure and clean as the wind driven snow!

The votes have already been accounted for.

The Community Board is merely an advisory organization and has NO, I repeat NO actual say nor any real ability to influence the matter.

The Community Boards are as useless and ineffective as the endless affirmations, declarations, and submissions presented as Testimony at the public hearings.

The Department of City Planning, after much faux deliberation, contemplation, constipation, and consideration, RUBBER STAMPS whatever muddled monstrosity is before them, so long as the appropriate donations have been made and the blessings of the worthy politicians.

All are shocked when these plans pass with overwhelming support.

"We the People" are the last to know.

And at a point where there is no possibility of changing or stopping ANYTHING.

A mere ruse for us lowly subjects...

Anonymous said...

Seems like a simple and obvious way to improve things.

Anonymous said...

when was the last time government actually fix or improve something?

Anonymous said...

With a hideous moniker like ULURP are you surprised by all the slurping?