Draft special permits NYC Hotel discussed in the meeting


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President of Spatial Planning Marisa Lago and Mayor Bill de Blasio.  (Global Philanthropy Forum, NYC, Getty)

President of Spatial Planning Marisa Lago and Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Global Philanthropy Forum, NYC, Getty)

Some former spatial planning officials are not interested in the plan to limit the construction of hotels throughout the city.

During Friday’s meeting, former administration officials criticized former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal for the city to demand special permission for all new hotel buildings. They argued that the proposal had no clear reason for land use and that it would harm not only hospitality but also businesses that rely on tourism.

David Karnovsky, a partner in Fried Frank’s real estate department, who has been City Planning’s chief lawyer for 15 years, described the reason for the change as “empty”, stating the scope of work issued in December “It cannot identify any problems caused by hotels in business districts.”

“The effects of ripples are likely to be significant and need to be studied,” he said.

The new requirement would apply to all territorial areas where the construction of hotels is permitted on the right and would replace the special permits already required in certain neighborhoods. The draft scope of work states that the new requirement would help prevent projects that cause “conflicts or create inconveniences” and ensure that hotel development is in line with demand.

Richard Barth, who served as CEO of Bloomberg at City Planning for 12 years and now heads the Capalino real estate group, said the proposal needed “more liberal provisions on rights and inheritance protection” and geographical exemptions.

In October 2020, according to the city, 30,331 hotel rooms were either under construction or in the late stages of planning, another 32,115 could be built by 2035. City planning expects that all of them should be subject to new special permit rules if accepted.

Within the scope of the proposal, the city states that 135 hotels were closed between January and September last year, partly due to a pandemic. He predicts that hospitality will return to the level of 2019 by 2025.

Until now, the city has approached in part to limit hotel development in the city. In the Midtown East and Garment District, special permits were required in these areas as part of the respective 2017 and 2018 resonances. In 2018, the requirement for light production zones was added and since then no new hotels have been built in these areas.

In November, however, the de Blasi administration abandoned its latest efforts, a plan requiring special permission Union Square. At the time, officials said they would instead focus on developing hotels in city-wide context.

“No new special permits will be issued if history is any guide,” said architect Gene Kaufman, who specializes in hotel design and open on previous permits of the city.

During Friday’s meeting, several city and state officials spoke about the success of special permits required for hotels in other parts of the city. Many people said it was crucial to give community members a bigger say on what was going on in their neighborhoods, and that it would help to prioritize residential projects as the city faces a serious housing crisis.

Brooklyn City Councilman Brad Lander said the city-wide permit would help address how “unrestricted hotel construction” affects the quality of life in residential areas, help manage hotel development where demand lies, and ultimately help the hotel’s “successful long-term recovery.” According to the proposed scope of work, the development of hotels in the outer districts exceeded demand.

The proposal has long been criticized as kindness Hotel and Motel Shop Council, which fought against the proliferation of non-member hotels. Ben Carlos Thypin of Quantierra Advisors called it an “unholy alliance” with a union that would actually benefit home-sharing applications like Airbnb.

The New York Real Estate Council has testified that the proposal creates uncertainty at a time when support for economic development in the city is critical.

“As New York continues to fight Covid-19, we need predictable and transparent city regulations to create a sustainable economic recovery, especially in development,” said Basha Gerhards, vice president of policy and planning at REBNY. “At a time when we need jobs and economic activity more than ever, this proposal seeks to undermine our economic recovery and further efforts by the city to confirm that New York is open to business.”


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