Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Box Store Moratorium

We are posting a draft proposal that details the need for New York City to do an in-depth and impartial study of the impact of the proliferation of box stores on New York City’s economy and neighborhoods. We welcome all comments. With the mayor touting all of his outer borough economic development issues it is about time we get good policy analysis that evaluates the impacts of these projects.

It is, however, important to point out (as one of our readers already has cogently done), a great deal of what passes for economic impact analysis is often simply partisan pap. We’d welcome any ideas, and would probably post the ones that are most germane, on how to create the best method for insuring independent project analysis. If we simply throw up our hands and say, “All work is self-serving” then we are left with a defeatism that leaves the process evaluation to the politically strongest.

Subsidy Review Procedures

That being said, it is also true that ULURP does not include any evaluation of the level of public subsidies provided to a development. Without fully knowing the political legs of the state legislation sponsored by Richard Brodsky and promoted by New York Jobs with Justice, isn’t it a good idea to see if we can’t replicate the proposal at the city level?

In our view, such a Community Impact Review should precede certification and be done so that those involved in the land use review process could have all the information prior to signing off. A project may pass muster on its own but fail to be approved because, while having some merit, it nonetheless lacked sufficient value to justify a high level of public subsidy. In addition if, after approval, a project seeks additional finances these too should signal a renewed review process (kind of like a supplemental EIS).