Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Council member Brennan looking to curb e-commerce warehouse development
The Real Deal
Politicians’ fight against Amazon is not over.
The e-commerce giant’s bid to build a Queens campus died a year ago, but warehouse projects have proliferated as e-commerce companies seek infrastructure to speed deliveries. And one Brooklyn official has had enough.
City Council member Justin Brannan is calling for a special permit requirement for large warehouse projects. That would give the Council power to stop the developments, which Brannan says are hurting the quality of life, especially in the outer boroughs.
Brannan wrote an op-ed in Crain’s last week saying they have led to “clogged streets, pedestrian hazards, increased asthma, low-wage jobs and the death of brick-and-mortar neighborhood retail.”
He is asking the Department of City Planning to “institute a special-permit requirement for all warehouse development over 250,000 square feet” to give communities and local officials input into when and how such projects come to their neighborhoods.
The move would force large warehouse projects subject to navigate a process similar to the city’s seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.
“A special permit means a community won’t be bulldozed — literally and figuratively — in the development process,” Brannan wrote. “Local leaders and elected officials will be able to consider the potential collateral damage to long-term plans for neighborhood development, and potentially be able to reach outcomes that benefit local residents, landlords, retailers, and even consumers.”
Other projects have triggered such proposals, some of which have been enacted. In the past two years the city has required special permits for hotel and self-storage projects in certain light-manufacturing zones, and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration said earlier this year that it supported such a requirement for hotel construction citywide. The move would enhance the New York City Hotel Trades Council’s opportunity to unionize new hotels.