The Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) is a standardized procedure whereby applications affecting the land use of the city are publicly reviewed.
A number of actions require approval through the ULURP process, but zoning changes and the disposition of city property get the most attention. Basically, ULURP is the way the city changes policy on land. It involves a series of consultations at the community and borough level followed by binding decisions by the mayor and City Council.
1. A developer files a ULURP application with the Department of City Planning. A copy is sent to the affected community board.
2. If the developer submits all necessary paperwork and carries out at least the first steps of any necessary environmental review, the project is certified. This starts the ULURP clock ticking.
3. The community board gets 60 days to review the proposal, and must hold a public hearing on it. The board can render a decision on the application—this is purely advisory—or do nothing; either way, the application moves to the borough president’s office.
4. After the community board finishes, the borough president has a 30-day period in which to review the idea and give his or her recommendation (again, it’s advisory) to City Planning.
5. The City Planning Commission, composed of seven members selected by the mayor and six others named by the borough presidents and public advocate, has 60 days to vote on the proposal once the borough president is done. In some case, if the BP votes “no,” a supermajority of nine com- missioners is necessary to overrule the beep. But in most cases, a simple majority rules.
6. The City Council automatically reviews some ULURP applications and can choose to weigh in on others. A land use subcommittee (Landmarks, Planning or Zoning) gets the first look, then the full Land Use Committee weighs in, and finally the entire Council can consider a proposal. By tradition, the Council usually follows the lead of the councilmember in whose district a project falls. The body has 50 days to act on a ULURP proposal.
7. If the Council has modified a ULURP proposal, it goes back to City Planning to decide if the change can be made without starting the ULURP process all over again.
8. After the Council has held its final vote on a plan, the mayor can veto it if he acts within five days.
9. The Council, however, still gets the final word. If the mayor vetoes a land use decision, the Council has 10 days to override it by a two-thirds majority vote.
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