You are reading

City Council passes several bills that aim to rein in BSA, claim it’s been granting variances with little regard to public

Karen Koslowitz

May 29, 2017 By Christian Murray

The city council passed several pieces of legislation last week to rein in the Building Standards & Appeals after claiming that the city agency grants zoning variances with little regard to the views of the public.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (Sunnyside) was a sponsor of one of the bills that calls for the BSA to directly address the concerns of the public when it renders a decision.

“If the board votes against the apparent wants of a neighborhood, I believe that the members of the community who will ultimately live with the consequences of the Board’s decision deserve to know why.”

Several council members claim that the BSA has become a rubber stamp for developers. They cited a study conducted by Citizens Union in 2012 that found that the BSA ruled in favor of the applicants 97 percent of the time.

Another bill that passed, sponsored by Karen Koslowitz (Forest Hills), requires the BSA to provide a written explanation whenever it approves a variance contrary to the recommendations of the community

Several of the bills that passed call for accountability.

One of the bills now requires the BSA to list the number of applications it has approved or denied as well as the average length of time until a decision was rendered. Another bill requires the BSA to list all thee variances and special applications action upon since 1998 to be available on an interactive map of the city.

Ben Kellos (Manhattan), who sponsored several of the bills, said in a statement: “We are taking away the rubber stamp from a government agency that used it far too often over the objections of residents.”

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Five Queens startups win $20,000 each in 2024 Tech + Innovation Challenge

May. 19, 2024 By Czarinna Andres

A diverse range of businesses, including a yoga studio, an olive oil distributor, a female health care provider, a sustainable mushroom farmer, and an AI-powered physical therapy service, have been named winners of the 2024 Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC). Each winner will receive a $20,000 grant to support their business operations.

QBP Richards, advocates rally to demand Mayor Adams restore funding to City’s libraries

May. 17, 2024 By Gabriele Holtermann

A rally was held at the Queens Public Library at Forest Hills on May 16, during which Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, union reps and library advocates called on Mayor Eric Adams to reverse the proposed $58.3 million budget cuts to the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QBL) for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on July 1, 2024.

Queens elected officials secure $70 million from New York State Budget for school safety equipment in religious and independent schools

May. 17, 2024 By Anthony Medina

Religious and independent schools throughout the city will soon receive additional funding for school safety equipment, thanks to Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and State Senator Michael Gianaris, who, after extensive advocacy efforts, successfully secured $70 million from the New York State Budget for 2024-25 for Non-Public School Safety Equipment (NPSE) grants.