Rezonings will require racial equity report next year

City Council passes amended bill five days before primary election

New York /
Jun.June 17, 2021 06:00 PM
Marisa Lago, Jumaane Williams, Rafael Salamanca Jr. and Louise Carroll (Getty, NYC Planning, NYC HPD)

Marisa Lago, Jumaane Williams, Rafael Salamanca Jr. and Louise Carroll (Getty, NYC Planning, NYC HPD)

Starting next year, some rezoning applications will need to include a “racial equity report.”

The City Council passed a bill Thursday that requires certain applications to include reports detailing affordability of proposed projects and, in some cases, two years’ worth of information on displacement trends and economic security of residents. Data for the latter would be taken from a database that the bill requires city agencies to create.

The database will include information on neighborhood demographics, affordability and displacement risk. The bill’s requirements kick in June 1, 2022.

Earlier versions of the measure, first introduced in 2019, would have required a “racial disparity report” in every environmental impact statement related to rezonings. The latest version eases that mandate, exempting special permits and text amendments from having to include a more extensive “community profile” of demographic and other trends in the neighborhood, as well as comparisons to borough and citywide data.

All projects that must include a racial equity report, however, must also have a statement describing how it abides by the federal Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which the Biden administration recently restored.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Council member Rafael Salamanca, the bill’s sponsors, said it was changed to require the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Department of City Planning to create a database, making it easier for applicants to obtain information for the reports. The measure is aimed at providing community members and elected officials more information on the potential impact of a rezoning before it officially begins the city’s land use review process.

“This will fundamentally change how our city develops, combating gentrification & displacement through a lens of racial equity,” Williams tweeted after the bill passed 42-2.

During a hearing on an earlier iteration of the bill, the Real Estate Board of New York had called for a standardized way of generating racial disparity reports. The group supports the changes made to the measure.

The de Blasio administration had also pushed back against the bill. A spokesperson for the mayor said Thursday that the administration worked closely with Williams and Salamanca and supports the measure.





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