Comptroller calls for city-wide zoning changes

September 17, 2010 02:30PM

John Liu

City Comptroller John Liu has commissioned a task force to implement changes in the city’s land use approval process, which would affect how the city determines what amenities — such as affordable housing and parks — to obtain from developers in exchange for approving their plans, the Wall Street Journal reported. A draft report issued this week by the task force recommends that new groups made up of community representatives — which would be monitored by the comptroller — negotiate benefit deals with developers involving major rezoning decisions. These deals are currently made by different interest groups, including elected officials, community organizations and others, with the ultimate decision on the zoning being made by the City Council. Under the comptroller’s proposal, the City Council would still get to vote on the zoning, but the negotiations with the developer would be removed from the Council because they would be completed months before the zoning vote. City officials and real estate executives are concerned that the new negotiations will add time and cost to the lengthy development process and give new power to the comptroller, though Liu said the report was not final and can still be changed. [WSJ]