Legislation Aimed at Fast Tracking Zoning Changes in Two Bridges Area Becomes Law

Brewer and Chin staged a rally in the Two Bridges neighborhood in July.

Brewer and Chin at a rally in the Two Bridges neighborhood in July.

A bill approved by the City Council in October aimed at fast tracking certain land use applications became law this past Friday. The legislation, sponsored by City Council member Margaret Chin, could help stymie three large-scale towers that have been proposed in the Two Bridges area.

The law allows elected officials and city agencies to skip the time-consuming pre-application process. The mayor did not sign the bill, meaning it went into effect without his explicit support. Now Council member Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer are moving ahead with their previously announced plan for a zoning text amendment to require a full land use review (ULURP) of the projects in the Two Bridges area. The story was first reported this morning by Politico.

The projects include JDS Development Group’s 1,000-foot tower at 247 Cherry St.; 62 ad 69 story towers from L+M Development Partners and the CIM Group at 260 South St.; and a 62-story building by the Starrett Group at 259 Clinton St. The rental buildings would add about 2,700 apartments to the area — 75% market rate/25% affordable. The City Planning Commission (DCP) is in the midst of an environmental review of the three proposals.

Rendering shows Extell's 80-story tower in the Two Bridges area, as well as three proposed towers now under review by the City Planning Commission.

Rendering shows Extell’s 80-story tower in the Two Bridges area, as well as three proposed towers now under review by the City Planning Commission.

DCP ruled that the new buildings only required a “minor modification” of the Two Bridges Large-Scale Development Plan and, therefore, were not subject to a ULURP. If Chin and Brewer’s application for a zoning text amendment is approved, the projects would be forced to undergo a review by Community Board 3, the borough president and the City Council.

During an unrelated event yesterday, Mayor de Blasio was asked about Chin’s bill. “I have not seen the legislation,” said de Blasio, “so this is one I want to be measured about because I just haven’t seen it. I think the current land use process, even though it’s elaborate, has often led to good outcomes and balanced outcomes so I’d be careful about disrupting that, but I’d have to see the legislation to give you a better answer.” A spokesperson for the mayor told Politico that his daily schedule determines whether or not he signs legislation or simply allows bills to become law without his signature. A spokesperson said, “The law doesn’t change anything about the Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure process and it was not clear to the mayor what bill he was being asked about.”

There’s a separate push underway from three community organizations for a rezoning of the Two Bridges area. The groups have met with representatives from DCP and are continuing to work on their application.