Have you ever had a situation where you had purchased something and then couldn’t find it? So you went out and bought another one? It happened to me. I couldn’t find my tape measure. It was in my toolbox. Eventually, I really needed it so I went out and bought another one. A few weeks later I found my tape measure. Now I have two. 

The latest bit of insanity to come out of Albany New York is a proposed new bureaucracy. 

Earlier this week, NY State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris joined members of the Neighbors Beyond Amazon coalition today to launch a new platform of policy proposals aimed at improving New York’s economic development climate. Senator Gianaris is leading the way with legislation that would require a social impact study for any major economic development project. 

“For too long we have funded economic development without considering the impact it has on our neighborhoods,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “It’s time to change that and insist on development that helps our communities rather than hurts them. We must prioritize the benefit of everyday people and not just wealthy interests.”   

Senator Gianaris’ new legislation would require a Social Impact Study, similar to the currently required Environmental Impact Study, to be completed before major economic development projects are undertaken. This would give communities a chance to understand the need for addressing housing and transportation before funding is permitted. 

It’s inconceivable that any major project gets undertaken in the state of NY without involving a zoning application. The zoning process is a 5 step process. This is required for anything that does not fit the criteria of being built “by right”. 

The final review process once all the applications have been submitted is also a 6 step process called the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. 

  1. Certification
  2. Community Board Review
  3. Borough President Review
  4. City Planning Commission Review
  5. City Council Review
  6. Mayoral Review

Within sixty (60) days of receiving the certified application, the Community Board is required to hold a public hearing and adopt and submit a written recommendation to CPC, the applicant, the Borough President and when appropriate, the Borough Board. The entire process takes 265 days according to the City of NY disclosures. The ULURP rules include provisions relating to the notice and conduct of a Community Board public hearing.

The senator is concerned with the financial impact on infrastructure for any planned project. It seems to me that the City Planning Commission, City Council, and the Mayor are already tasked and mandated with managing those aspects of the impact of a project. That’s why those organizations exist. 

If an environmental impact study is required, then you can add a minimum of 110 days to the process, and that’s a minimum. That’s the fastest the process could ever be.  If you read the environmental impact study rules, chapter 5 already deals with social and economic impact. It lays out the rules for conducting a social impact study in addition to the environmental impact study. A socioeconomic assessment should be conducted if a project may be reasonably expected to create socioeconomic changes within the area affected by the project that would not be expected to occur without the project. There are chapters that deal specifically with Water and Sewer Infrastructure, Transportation, Energy, Air Quality, Noise, Neighborhood Character, Sanitation, and Public Health. 

The whole thing reminds me of the time when I lost my tape measure. Our legal system is so stuffed with regulations that our own lawmakers have no idea what’s in there. 

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