Thursday, April 27, 2006

Spinola and CBAs: "No Mas"

In today's Crain's Insider Steve Spinola, the head of the Real Estate Board of New York, comes out strongly opposed to the growing practice of including Community Benefits Agreements as part of large real estate developments. He's calling on the mayor "to limit them" since in his opinion they "usurp the role of environmental impact statements."

Well, perhaps they do but if so than that's probably a good thing since, as we have pointed out, the EIS's and the entire ULURP process leaves a great deal to be desired. In addition, as we have also pointed out, the land use review doesn't really gauge economic impacts and lack accountability in this area.

All too often the community that is hosting the project fails to realize benefits that truly mitigate the costs of being the host of the development. A CBA can do this but this vehicle needs to be further standardized to avoid it becoming a cynical tool of unscrupulous local elected officials.