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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Revision by the Dept. of City Planning to the zoning resolution to streamline and improve the zoning regulations governing environmental designations

WHEREAS, In the New York City Zoning Resolution, (E) designations are applied during the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) process to account for environmental conditions that are likely to exist on sites not under the control of an applicant; and

WHEREAS, These environmental conditions could pertain to hazardous materials, air quality or noise and with an (E) designation, the City can undertake re-zonings and meet CEQR mandates by ensuring that potential environmental conditions will be addressed at the time of development; and

WHEREAS, The (E) Program was created by the Department of City Planning in 1983, is administered by the Office of Environmental Remediation (OER), and enforced by the Department of Buildings (DOB); and

WHEREAS, The (E) Program was not designed to address general public health and safety but instead to be used in connection with the environmental review of proposed discretionary development that could result in an environmental impact and where immediate remediation is not feasible; and

WHEREAS, With these proposed changes, the (E) Program will now include all actions under the Zoning Resolution, including Special Permits and Authorizations; and

WHEREAS, This proposed revision is intended to streamline the administration of the (E) Program, enhance its existing enforcement mechanisms, update and clarify Program-related provisions in the zoning text, and overall, to improve efficiency, record-keeping, and transparency in its administration to the benefit of property owners, land use practitioners and City agencies; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is concerned that the enforcement confusion this text amendment is designed to clarify may result in situations where mitigation measures have not been adequately monitored or enforced so we urge the Department of City Planning, Office of Environmental Remediation, and Department of Buildings and any other relevant agencies to coordinate and determine if this may have been the case and put in place any corrective measures and allow any strengthened enforcement mechanisms to apply retroactively; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five believes that to advance the goal of transparency, one of the stated goals of this text change, that the City retroactively apply (E) designations to those sites where in the past restrictive declarations were put in place to ensure that the (E) designations list in the Zoning Resolution and on the Zoning Map reflect all sites where mitigation is required; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five believes the City should consider the creation of a designation similar to the (E) designation to record potential service and infrastructure impacts such as on school seats, sanitation, open space and traffic to ensure that as development occurs, there is a careful monitoring of whether adequate services exist to accommodate the influx of new residents, workers, or visitors; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five also recommends that the City look at some of these issues much more proactively and not wait for a CEQR review in order to determine whether remediation is necessary; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five supports the goals of streamlining and strengthening the (E) Program but urges adequate resources and oversight to its enforcement; and therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board 5 recommends approval of the proposed revision by the Department of City Planning to the City-wide Zoning Resolution to streamline and improve the zoning regulations governing environmental ("E") designations, Section 11-15.

The above resolution passed  by a vote of 37 in favor, 0 opposed, 2 abstaining.

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