As NYC suspends land use and rezoning actions, some officials want to also ban construction

March 17, 2020

All city land use and rezoning processes have been temporarily suspended as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday. In an executive order, the mayor directed procedures “applicable to the city planning and land use processes” to freeze for the duration of New York’s state of emergency.

The city’s official public review process, or the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), involves months of evaluation of a proposed project from the community board, borough president, the City Planning Commission, the City Council, and the Mayor.

“To avoid the need to hold public gatherings and minimize the potential spread of COVID-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio has temporarily suspended New York City’s land use decision making processes,” Marisa Lago, the director of the Department of City Planning, said in a statement.

“The suspension of the City’s official public review process, the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), was made via Executive Order. As of the issuance of this Executive Order, all City Planning Commission meetings, including public hearings and votes required as part of land use review processes, are suspended and the time periods for hearings and votes will not run.”

Officials are also calling for the temporary suspension of construction work in the city, as the Real Deal first reported. Council Member Carlos Menchaca, who represents parts of Brooklyn, on Monday tweeted: “I’m calling on the moratorium of all construction site work in NYC. Again, we are putting workers in danger.”

On Monday, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh banned all construction for 14 days amid the pandemic, the Boston Herald reported. The only exception includes emergency projects related to roadwork and gas hookups.

Construction sites were recently notified by the city about precautionary measures regarding the coronavirus, but no decision to temporarily shut down projects has been made by the agency. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Andrew Rudansky, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Buildings, told the Real Deal. The agency will issue additional guidance if needed.

Council Member Brad Lander, who represents District 39, tweeted his support for Menchaca’s proposal. “It’s essential right now to build new hospital capacity. It is NOT essential right now to build new condos,” he wrote.


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