City to resume rezonings, at last

Boost to stalled projects as hearings will get going in August

 Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago (Getty, iStock)
Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago (Getty, iStock)

Projects frozen in the city’s stalled land-use process — which Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday called “crucial to all of our lives” — can finally get moving again.

The mayor announced that the City Planning Commission will start holding remote meetings next month and resume the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure in September. The mayor on March 16 had halted Ulurp, a seven-month long review process required for rezonings, which most big projects depend on — as does de Blasio’s affordable housing program.

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“Think about it as what it will mean for the future, not just for the look of the city, but where there will be opportunity, where there will be that next affordable apartment, where there will be that next job,” de Blasio said during a press briefing Wednesday. “That work needs to begin again.”

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Ulurp is a key part of his Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which aims to rezone 15 neighborhoods as part of the mayor’s goal to build or preserve 300,000 affordable apartments by 2026. Even with the commencement of the review process, however, the administration faces City Council opposition to rezonings and is in court fighting to reinstate the rezoning of Inwood, which a state judge nullified in December.

Developers and their lobbyists have griped about Ulurp’s suspension, which has held up large-scale rezonings, including of Rikers Island and Industry City. According to City Planning’s website, more than 130 Ulurp applications are active (most of which haven’t yet officially entered the public review process).

In June, Deputy Mayor Vicki Been told an industry roundtable that City Hall was still working out technological issues to make Ulurp meetings remote. De Blasio noted that Ulurp will resume along with community board meetings. The first remote City Planning meeting is slated for Aug. 3.

Write to Kathryn Brenzel at