Incoming City Council Speaker Corey Johnson plans to take a more active approach on land use issues, in a departure from his predecessor Melissa Mark-Viverito’s style. And that could be good news for developers.
Mark-Viverito deferred to local Council members when it came to approving rezonings in their districts and never overruled them, Politico reported. But Johnson said it’s “possible” he would overrule a local Council member if he thinks a new development is in the city’s interest.
“In my own district I’ve had more [land use] applications than any other member in the body and my posture is always — how do we get to a place of yes. I don’t come in looking to strike a deal down or stop something,” Johnson told Politico. He also wants to grow the Council’s land use division by hiring more staff and increasing funding.
Johnson also criticized the Council’s attempts to block developments that don’t actually require its approval, such as Gamma Real Estate’s 3 Sutton Place, which has met resistance from Councilmember Ben Kallos and wealthy NIMBYS in the area.
“I want to again respect my colleagues and what decisions are best for them in their districts, but I think we need to just be careful because we have to produce affordable housing in New York City,” he said.
Outgoing land use committee chair David Greenfield said there’s “a big difference in the styles of Melissa and Corey relating to land use.”
“I always found him to be very pragmatic,” he said of Johnson. “I think he will help members get to where they need to be.” [Politico] — Konrad Putzier