One thought on “CityViews: NYC Bid to Revise Charter and Improve Democracy Should Learn from the Past

  1. Excellent piece. I would say most people engaged with land use issues today are focused on the sham of public hearings. The only two real opportunities for the public to speak is in front of community boards and borough presidents–both of which play only advisory roles. City Council committee hearings often only have the Chair present–as experienced recently on a proposed rezoning in Brooklyn for 142-150 S. Portland Avenue. Local residents end up feeling that the fix is in, the game rigged to favor developers. The EIS requirement is similarly merely an expensive bit of phony analysis, since most of them are done by a handful of firms hired by the developer, and the conclusions distort real impacts by manipulating data or a shrug that minimizes real effects like shadows. Lawsuits brought on the basis of EIS flaws never win because judges don’t want to thwart government. The stranglehold of REBNY and potential developer profits has replaced real public policy debates regarding affordable housing and land use planning. Solutions?

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