The New York City Council, under Speaker Corey Johnson, announced this week the release of a proposal for “A New Comprehensive Planning Framework for New York City,” to support equitable, inclusive growth, and citing the City’s current “planning framework, or lack thereof, [as being] inherently flawed.” The report was released in tandem with legislation introduced by Speaker Johnson at the Council’s December 17 stated meeting (Int 2186-2020), requiring a 10 year comprehensive planning cycle. The proposal seeks to increase coordination across City agencies, proactively plan for neighborhood growth, even the zoning landscape that otherwise exacerbates socio-economic inequality, budget for long-term capital and infrastructure improvements and streamline the planning process. The proposal looks to the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and sustainability to oversee the efforts, which would be based on a report of the City’s population and economy, including an analysis of racial and socio-economic disparities, access to opportunity, displacement risk, risks to vulnerable communities, impacts of prior development and infrastructure needs. Discretionary approvals would still be subject to ULURP, although the report proposes the adoption by the City Council of a “Preferred Neighborhood Strategy” for each of the City’s Community Districts, which would then inform a Final Long-Term Plan. Additionally, if the City Planning Commission determines that a proposed application conflicts with the Comprehensive Planning Framework (or Final Long-Term Plan), only then would City Council have the opportunity to voluntarily “call up” the application; all other discretionary applications that are determined to be aligned with the Final Long-Term Plan would not require a vote by the City Council.
*Jennifer Dicksion is a Land Use Planner in Sheppard Mullins New York office.