Racial Equity Reports Required for Land Use Planning Actions | Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
On June 17, 2021, the New York City Council approved a local law (Intro No. 1572-B) that requires applicants (both municipal agencies and private applicants) for significant land use actions submitted on or after June 1, 2022 for analysis and disclosure under the city’s Uniform Land Use Review (“ULURP”) process the potential impact of their proposals on racial equity.
Public attorney Jumaane Williams, one of the sponsors of the legislation, said racial equity reporting is necessary to protect communities: “In the city’s neighborhoods, we have seen dezoning leading not to stronger community growth, but to increased rents and travel. Particularly in communities of color, these forces have been unchecked in the name of development and a failure to recognize racial impact. of these projects has been detrimental.
The required racial impact studies would be based on an equitable development data tool to be developed within the next six to seven months by the Department of Urban Planning (“DCP”) that aims to measure the risk of displacement consisting of indicators such as the vulnerability of the population, housing conditions and change of neighborhood. The Fair Development Data Tool must be completed by the DCP for public use by April 1, 2022 after a 60-day public review period.
The legislation identifies parameters that should be included in the study, including existing disparities between racial and ethnic groups, eviction rates, median household income, and median rent and house prices. The substance of the racial equity reports would vary depending on the type of application, but all would include a statement of how the proposed project relates to the implementation of the goals of promoting fair housing and promoting a better housing environment. equitable access to opportunities. For residential projects, the impact statement should disclose the expected rents for market rate housing and affordable housing and the income required to pay for them without incurring the burden of housing costs.
A racial equity report will be required for the following land use actions:
- actions that increase the allowable living area by 50,000 square feet. or more;
- actions that increase the permitted non-residential floor area by 200,000 sq. ft. or more;
- actions that change the floor area authorized for any use in a 100,000 square foot manufacturing district;
- actions that change the regulations for use in a manufacturing district for at least 100,000 square feet. floor space;
- most acquisitions and dispositions of City-owned properties involving at least 50,000 square feet. floor space;
- actions that decrease the floor area or the number of dwellings allowed on at least four contiguous city blocks;
- zoning Text changes affecting 5 or more community districts;
- Historic neighborhoods that include 4 or more blocks.
Until the methodology is established, it is not clear how the new requirement would work in practice to shape the outcome of land use decisions. Potential ways to mitigate racial impact also remain unclear, but should include methods to address potential disparities or risk of displacement, such as protections against harassment from tenants, protections for the right to social assistance, ‘a lawyer and workforce development programs.