62% hike in filing fees for large projects

New York /
May.May 26, 2009 06:05 PM

The city’s Department of City Planning is proposing charging a steep increase in filing fees that would add nearly $200,000 to an application for some of the largest projects filed in the five boroughs, documents show. 
 
The base fees for projects 2.5 million square feet or greater that require both land use and environmental reviews would rise by $183,275, or 62 percent, to at least $474,225, according to figures from the Department of City Planning calendar published Friday. 
 
The hikes are part of wider increases in the city’s vetting processes that are used to manage development. The jumps in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP, and the City Environmental Quality Review, were first proposed by the Department of City Planning at the City Planning Commission May 4 meeting and are scheduled to be discussed at a public hearing June 17. The rules could be implemented as early as August following a vote by the commission, an agency spokesperson said.

Under the plan, the fee for all projects would increase a more modest 8 percent on all sizes of ULURP and City Environmental Quality Review applications. At the same time, new fees for ULURP applications for projects of 500,000 square feet or larger range between $80,000 and $160,000, the City Planning Web site says. 
 
The increases on all projects come despite a pledge by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his state of the city address in January that he wanted to cut costs city agencies would charge small developers.

He pledged that the city will “also reduce the costs and delays for small property owners seeking environmental reviews — without giving up one iota of environmental protection.” 
 
The 8 percent hikes were proposed to cover increased labor costs in general for city workers, while the new large-project fees were added to cover the cost of reviewing the applications, the proposal said.
 
Despite the increased fees, no new staff will be hired, the City Planning spokesperson said. 
 
The environmental review process covers all discretionary actions by the city to determine what impact changes to land use, zoning, sanitation, traffic and other factors may have on the city, while ULURP covers land use issues.
 
The fee proposal came as a surprise to the Real Estate Board of New York’s senior vice president Michael Slattery, who first heard of the increases at the May 4 City Planning review session.
 
He did not yet know if the group would ask the city to reduce the proposed fees, but was discussing a reaction with developers.
 
“I am not sure how we will approach it,” he said.
 
Meanwhile, REBNY president Steven Spinola said in a speech in early May that the group was gearing up to fight tax hikes in the city and state in general.


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