What’s taking so long to restart Ulurp?

Lost summer for rezonings as city struggles with remote hearings

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty)

City Hall is having technical difficulties.

The de Blasio administration is still trying to figure out how to move the city’s land-use review process online, the New York Post reports. Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order in March suspending the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, known as Ulurp, and it “remains on pause due to the Covid crisis,” according to a city spokesperson.

Last week, Deputy Mayor Vicki Been told an industry roundtable that she’s still working out technological issues to make Ulurp meetings remote.

“I certainly expect that in the early fall we will be back in business,” Been said.

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Industry lobbyists have been calling for a restart since mid-May.

Meanwhile the City Council has held its meetings remotely throughout the crisis, and the Rent Guidelines Board held its meetings and hearings on YouTube ahead of its rent-freeze vote earlier this month.

Without Ulurp, rezonings — including those that are key to the mayor’s affordable housing program, not to mention major private projects — are on hold. Among them are a rezoning of Industry City, the massive industrial and retail campus in Sunset Park; a major residential project in Upper Manhattan by the Olnick Organization, and neighborhood rezonings in Gowanus, Bushwick and Soho/Noho.

“We understand Covid, but you know it’s just a shame because these are people who need a roof over their head,” said Joe Apicella, whose development firm, the MacQuesten Companies, is building an 107-apartment project for low-income residents in Brooklyn. “This is a project that enjoys support from the area Council member and the community. I can’t rationalize in this day and age with technology why we can’t have meetings.” [NYP] — Kathryn Brenzel