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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Resolution on the Department of City Planning Gaming Text Amendment

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, January 11, 2024, the following resolution passed with a vote of 35 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The New York City Department of City Planning has proposed a Text Amendment to permit gaming facilities as a permitted use within specified certain (C4, C5, C6, C7, and C8) and manufacturing (M1, M2, and M3) zoning districts, potentially bypassing the established Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP); and

WHEREAS, The 2013 amendment to the New York State Constitution sanctioned the establishment of a maximum of seven commercial casinos in the state, and subsequently, four casinos received licenses in upstate New York, and as per the 2022 legislation, the allocation of the remaining three gaming facility licenses is exclusively designated for the downstate New York region, encompassing New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties; and 

WHEREAS, The oversight of gaming activities in New York State falls under the jurisdiction of the New York State Gaming Commission, and the Gaming Facility Location Board was established by the Gaming Commission to manage the selection and assessment procedures concerning the three outstanding licenses; and 

WHEREAS, In January 2023, the Gaming Facility Location Board presented a comprehensive process for evaluating applications for the three downstate casino licenses, with a procedure involving specific criteria for siting and review, including the establishment of Community Advisory Committees (CACs) tasked with the evaluation and approval of each individual application; and

WHEREAS, Each Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will comprise representatives of six elected officials, including the Governor, Mayor, local Assemblymember, State Senator, Borough President, and City Councilmember; and

WHEREAS, for a casino license application to be eligible to be assessed by the Gaming Facility Location Board, it must receive the support of 2/3 of the CAC as well as be a conforming use according to underlying local zoning at its proposed location; and 

WHEREAS, the DCP Zoning Text Amendment proposes that a gaming facility, as approved by the State, will be deemed complying and conforming with all applicable use and bulk zoning regulations, entirely circumventing ULURP and site-specific zoning evaluation; and

WHEREAS, the Amendment fails to provide any bulk, height, capacity, signage, transportation, socio-economic impact review and guideline; and 

WHEREAS, the Amendment received a EAS Negative declaration under the package of zoning text amendments known as The City of Yes for Economic Opportuniries, but it has now been seered from this package and no clear EAS evaluation and conslusions have been shared by DCP regarding the resent Amendment that would permit gaming use in NYC, and therefore, DCP is failing its basic mandate to evaluation the impact of the Amendment; and 

WHEREAS, Such an amendment would diminish the oversight role of community boards, reduce the opportunity for community engagement and input, and thus would have detrimental effects on the established fabric of communities by circumventing meaningful community input; and

WHEREAS, The proposed amendment could set a concerning precedent where major land use decisions are expedited at the cost of democratic participation and thorough technical review, undermining the New York City Charter mandate for public review of "proposals for the use of land…in the district;" and

WHEREAS, The amendment would also bypass the recently adopted Citywide Hotels Text Amendment which requires a special permit for new and enlarged hotels, a notable concern given the associated non-gaming uses related to gaming; and

WHEREAS, The critical public review process established by ULURP in the New York City Charter is a fundamental tool for ensuring transparency and accountability in land use and development; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Manhattan Community Board Five opposes the Gaming Facility Text Amendment as proposed by the Department of City Planning due to its potential to eliminate public review and undermine ULURP; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Manhattan Community Board Five calls upon the City Planning Commission to retract the proposed Text Amendment and uphold the principles and processes enshrined in ULURP, ensuring that community boards retain their essential role in land use decisions; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Manhattan Community Board Five requests a more comprehensive city public review process that includes extensive community board consultation and broader public engagement to better assess the potential impacts of gaming facilities within the community, ensuring full technical review and community input.

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