Lawyer Monthly - September 2023

About Howard Goldman Howard Goldman is the co-founding partner of GoldmanHarris LLC and has been practicing land use law in New York City since his appointment as Deputy Counsel to the Department of City Planning in 1980. He has since worked as a land use partner at two leading law firms before opening his own firm in 1999, with GoldmanHarris LLC opening in 2008. Howard is also an adjunct professor at New York Law School, an author of numerous articles, and has been recognised by Chambers and Partners in Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (New York) for his expertise. About GoldmanHarris LLC GoldmanHarris LLC is a boutique law firm focusing on zoning and land use in the five boroughs of New York City. The firm’s team are all veterans of NYC’s development process, and its senior partners have almost eight combined decades of experience in NYC land use between them. Contact Howard Goldman Co-Founder GoldmanHarris LLC 475 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016, USA Tel: +1 212-935-1622 E: It is critical to our democracy that government be open and transparent. Midtown Rezoning was an ambitious plan to amend the Zoning Resolution to encourage commercial development west of Sixth Avenue while cooling off development to the east. The certification of the application was preceded by two years of planning, reports and public outreach by the Department of City Planning. There was only one legal challenge to the rezoning, which involved the effects on two sites east of Sixth Avenue that were downzoned while they were in construction. A court challenge by the developers based on SEQRA was dismissed. Lastly, looking at the long-term impact, how might ‘City of Yes’ reshape the legal and regulatory landscape of urban development in NYC? It is my hope that the City of Yes will reverse the perception of New York City as hostile to development because of time, costs and uncertainty. The City of Yes also needs to reverse the reality that New York is extremely expensive to live in by increasing the development of affordable housing. As new urban challenges arise in the future, as they surely will, the City of Yes can provide a model for addressing these challenges. Mayor Eric Adams and City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick, in particular, should be commended for their work on the City of Yes. be determined to be complete by the Department of City Planning. After this occurs (which currently can take years), the application is ‘certified’ as complete by the City Planning Commission and referred to the affected Community Board and Borough President for public hearings and non-binding (but politically significant) recommendations. The City Planning Commission then holds a public hearing, votes, and issues a detailed report explaining its decision. If the Commission does not approve, the application dies. If the Commission approves, the application is forwarded to the City Council, which holds more public hearings and renders a decision to approve, modify, or disapprove the City Planning Commission decision. The process has worked reasonably well over the past 48 years. Can you share a case from your professional experience that illustrates the kind of legal challenges that the City of Yes initiative may encounter? The 1982 Midtown Rezoning was adopted when I was the Deputy Counsel at the Department of City Planning. My job was to coordinate the environmental review process. The THOUGHT LEADER 69

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