Brooklyn Council member David Greenfield’s selection as chairman of the influential Land Use Committee is likely to comfort developers alarmed by the election of staunch liberal Melissa Mark-Viverito as City Council speaker.
The Land Use Committee is a key panel that approves development projects and has veto power over the Department of City Planning’s rezoning proposals. Greenfield represents Brooklyn’s 44th Council District which includes the neighborhoods of Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst, and unlike those appointed to head other key panels such as Finance Committee chair Julissa Ferreras, he isn’t a member of the labor-backed Progressive Caucus.
Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said at the time of the appointment that Greenfield would be “diligent and fair,” according to Crain’s. Greenfield added that new council rules would leave chairmen “empowered to run committees independently.”
During the elections last year, Greenfield worked with Sephardic real estate interests to elect council candidates aligned with county Democratic bosses, according to Crain’s. Then he and Brooklyn Democratic Chairman Frank Seddio went ahead and cut a deal with the Progressive Caucus to get Mark-Viverito elected as speaker.
The land use position attracts campaign donations from developers, according to Crain’s.
“The power of the job comes in helping to shape the debate,” on what projects will be discussed and how conflicts would be resolved, land use lawyer Ken Fisher told the magazine. And with Mark-Viverito owing Greenfield a favor, he is likely to be given a wide reach, Crain’s said. [Crain’s] – Hiten Samtani