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April 23, 2019

Stroock Special Bulletin

By: Ross F. Moskowitz, , John B. Egnatios-Beene, Ashley E. Doukas, Eva C. Schneider

On April 22, 2019, the staff for the 2019 Charter Revision Commission (the “2019 Commission”) released its Preliminary Staff Report (the “Report”), which makes recommendations on topics as varied as elections, redistricting and land use.

In this Stroock Special Bulletin, we outline the recommendations related to land use.

(This article is the second in a series. The first, “The Charter Commission 2019 Proposals That Could Reshape NYC Land Use and Zoning,” appeared in January, providing an overview of the proposals the 2019 Commission had received. Click here to read the first installment.)

The Report recommends that the 2019 Commission consider and solicit feedback on the following potential charter amendments and recommendations:

Recommendations Related to Community Boards and the ULURP Process

  • Establishing a pre-certification engagement process to ensure that Community Boards have an earlier opportunity and more time to review and comment on ULURP applications. The Report proposes a “fixed pre-certification ‘comment period’ (e.g., 30 days)” and further suggests that this pre-certification comment period be initiated by requiring an applicant to submit a Project Information Form to “affected Community Boards and Borough Presidents with information necessary to evaluate the substance of the proposed project such as relevant plans, diagrams, and proposed actions.”
  • Extending the time period for Community Boards to consider certified ULURP applications from 60 to 75 days when “a substantial portion of the Community Board’s review period fall[s] within the months of July and/or August.”

Recommendations Related to Planning

  • Establishing a “Planning Cycle” to (1) clarify how the various existing city plans and similar documents[1] relate to and impact each other and (2) to ensure the timing and development of the plans facilitate these goals.
  • Ensuring plans address anticipated future planning challenges and incorporate specific indicators that engender consistency in measuring progress over time.
  • Requiring plans regularly address and identify short-term, intermediate and longer-term issues (as defined by electoral cycles).[2]
  • Requiring that plans describe contemplated short-term, intermediate and long-term land use changes such as neighborhood rezonings.
  • Establishing a uniform process that ensures that the public and other stakeholders have “an opportunity to meaningfully weigh in on what the plans address and how.”

Other Recommendations

  • Requiring that city agencies provide the Borough president with documents and records that relate to matters (such as land use matters) within their jurisdiction.
  • Authorizing stipends for Landmarks Preservation Commission members through local law, not a charter amendment.

The 2019 Commission will be holding a series of Borough Hearings within the next three weeks (listed below), after which the 2019 Commission, in mid-June will issue its final proposals by resolution directing staff to prepare the final report and ballot questions.

In late July the 2019 Commission will adopt a finalized packet, which will be submitted to the City Clerk. From August through October the 2019 Commission will embark on a public education campaign on the final proposals. On November 5, 2019, the public will vote on the final proposals.

Upcoming Borough Hearings

  • April 30: Queens Borough Hearing
  • May 2: Brooklyn Borough Hearing
  • May 7: Bronx Borough Hearing
  • May 9: Manhattan Borough Hearing
  • May 14: Staten Island Borough Hearing

Click here for a copy of the full Report.

The Stroock land use and environmental team will continue to monitor the 2019 Commission’s proposals and provide updates. In the interim, please let us know if you have any questions.

For more information:

Ross F. Moskowitz

Gail Suchman

John B. Egnatios-Beene

Ashley E. Doukas

Eva C. Schneider

 

[1] The 12 existing plans and documents the Report identifies are as follows:  (1) Borough Strategic Policy Statements; (2) City Strategic Policy Statements; (3) The-Year Capital Strategy; (4) Four-Year Capital Program; (5) Community Development Plans (197-a Plans); (6) Zoning and Planning Report; (7) Statement of Community District Needs; (8) Citywide Statement of Needs; (9) Long-Term Sustainability Plan/Updates; (10) Sustainability Indicators Report; (11) Comprehensive Waterfront Plan; and (12) Agency Plans.

[2] “Short term” refers to issues within the current electoral term; “intermediate”  refers to issues within the next electoral term; and “longer-term” appears to refer to issues beyond the next electoral term.