These projects could be held up by New York’s rezoning freeze

The 119 affected developments include an infectious-disease facility

Mar.March 18, 2020 11:30 AM
Mayor Bill de Blasio halted ULURP, stalling projects like 960 Franklin Avenue, Rikers Island and Industry City 

Mayor Bill de Blasio halted Ulurp, stalling rezonings including at 960 Franklin Avenue, Rikers Island and Industry City

To stem the coronavirus pandemic, the city paused more than 100 zoning applications Monday from going through the public review process, preventing several massive developments and, ironically, plans for an infectious disease facility in Brooklyn from moving forward.

Through an executive order, Mayor Bill de Blasio put all projects that must go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure on hold. As of Tuesday, there were 119 active Ulurp applications, of which 45 had officially started the seven month-long process, according to an analysis by The Real Deal.

Department of City Planning spokesperson Joe Marvilli indicated that owners who filed the remaining 74 Ulurp applications can still work with the city to get their applications ready for public review. The Ulurp clock does not begin on applications until they are certified by the agency. The amount of time between when an application is filed and is certified varies, and owners can still consult the city on how to correct their proposals while they wait for Ulurp proceedings to commence, he said.

“We hope to get back to normal as soon as possible,” Marvilli said in a statement. Ulurp involves public hearings, which have been suspended citywide as part of the social-distancing strategy.

The projects held up include large-scale rezonings, including that of Rikers Island, which would ban jails from operating on the 400-acre island after December 31, 2026.

The rezoning of Industry City, a 16-building waterfront complex in Brooklyn, will also be put on hold. The City Planning Commission certified the industrial campus’ application in October.

A few applications also seek to essentially legalize large retail spaces that already exist in Soho. One requests a special permit to allow more than 10,000 square feet of retail in portions of the cellar, ground floor and second floor of 503 Broadway, where Zara bought a retail condo in 2015.

At least two dozen of the stalled applications seek to qualify for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which provides a zoning bonus if developers set aside a percentage of units as affordable. One of the largest of these projects is Urban Village, a complex in the East New York being developed by the Christian Cultural Center and the Gotham Organization. The team is seeking to build 2,100 affordable units across nine buildings.

Two controversial towers planned for 960 Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, which are being developed by Continuum Company and Lincoln Equities and would bring 1,573 residential units, are also among the halted projects.

Included in the applications are projects that had already encountered problems. Last month a City Council subcommittee all but killed a proposal by the Olnick Organization to build 1,600 units as part of an expansion of Lenox Terrace. In 2017 New York Community Hospital filed an application for a new infectious disease isolation unit for its Midwood location. The proposal hasn’t made much progress since, and doesn’t have a set timeline.

Ulurp subjects rezoning proposals to review by the local community board, borough president, City Planning Commission and City Council.

Note: Ulurp applications filed before 2016 that have not been certified by the city were excluded from this analysis. The analysis also excluded non-Ulurp land-use applications, which were also postponed by Monday’s executive order.

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