City Council Passes Bill for Increased ‘Urban Renewal’ Transparency

Posted on: December 14th, 2017 at 9:39 am by

Two Bridges waterfront

Earlier this week, City Council unanimously voted to pass legislation that would require the City to provide public access to urban renewal plans, which have been changing the real estate landscape of New York City for decades.

Intro 1533-A, sponsored by Councilwoman Margaret Chin, would require the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to notify the public where urban renewal areas exist and when they expire. It would also require written notification of an expiring urban renewal plan to be delivered to affected Community Boards, Borough Presidents and Council Members. Additionally, new tools via a public website will be available to help educate communities and assist in taking action to protect themselves if they are in or near a former or active urban renewal area.

The siginificance of the bill is in its proposed transparency. Since 1949, the City has adopted over 150 urban renewal plans, but the specifics have never actually been accessible to the public without a special request.

The new Lower East Side waterfront

“The lack of public access to urban renewal plans has left too many communities in the dark about their impact on neighborhood preservation. When these plans expire, it can open the door for enormous development to threaten vulnerable neighborhoods,” said Council Member Chin. “By requiring public notification for expiring urban renewal areas and a publicly accessible website with information about currently and formerly designated urban renewal areas, this legislation would empower more communities to take action to protect their neighborhoods.”

Intro 1533-A comes at a seemingly opportune time. Chin recently sponsored legislation that was adopted into law, paving the way for Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to file a text amendment that would require the proposed Two Bridges mega-towers to undergo ULURP.

Only time will tell…

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