John Liu

Zoning Changes for Comptroller

By ELIOT BROWN

A task force commissioned by City Comptroller John Liu is poised to call for a major change in the way that the city determines what amenities—such as affordable housing and parks—to extract from real-estate developers in exchange for approving their plans.

Those decisions are among the most controversial parts of the city’s rough-and-tumble land-use approval process and are often criticized for the inconsistent way in which they are made. A draft report by the task force, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, recommends that new groups made up of community representatives—and monitored by the comptroller—negotiate benefit deals with developers involving major rezoning decisions.

Currently there’s no formalized way in which these deals are made. Rather a collection of interest groups typically participate, including elected officials, community organizations and others, with the ultimate decision on the zoning being made by the City Council.

Full WSJ Article