New York City Council passes bill requiring report on racial equity in land use

On June 17, 2021 New York City Council passed, by a margin of 46-2, Intro 1572-B, which will create a new requirement for applicants for most land-use actions to provide the City Planning Commission and public with a report on racial equity in connection with their project.

These newly-required reports will include a statement describing how the proposed project relates to the City’s goals and strategies for affirmatively furthering fair housing and promoting equitable access to opportunity. They will also include a community data profile for the local project area drawn from a newly created “Equitable Development Data Tool” established by the Departments of Housing Preservation and Development and City Planning, with citywide, boroughwide, neighborhood and community-district level data.

“This legislation would help identify plans that are inherently racist, exclusive, and detrimental to an inclusive and just New York City,” Churches United for Fair Housing executive director and co-founder Rob Solano said in a statement. “We know firsthand how important this legislation is because we emerged from our fight against gentrification and segregation in the form of a racist rezoning proposal. We hope this legislation will make racist proposals abundantly clear so that we can move forward in creating a New York that is inclusive, safe, and affordable for all.”

“Often, rezonings are presented as being great for the city, but it’s clear that only applies to certain areas and communities,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “In others, in communities of more color, they have helped spur gentrification and displacement. Both developers and the city have been reluctant to recognize the role of rezonings in this racial and ethnic displacement, much less take adequate action to prevent it. This law can fundamentally change how our city approaches land use, how we grow and develop, how we create new opportunities without harming longstanding communities.”

Intro 1572-B was sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Council Member Rafael Salamanca.