Interested in attending a BluePRint Info Session?
If you want to learn more about the improved BluePRint process, please email email@example.com. An info session will be organized in the Spring and we will contact you directly with dates.
BluePRint, City Planning's Business Process Reform effort, is a major business change initiative launched by the Department of City Planning in January 2011 to reform City Planning's core land use and environmental application review processes. BluePRint affects projects requiring discretionary approval by the City Planning Commission and City Council and focuses on the pre-certification review period – the time between an applicant's first contact with DCP to the start of the formal public review of an application, known as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure or ULURP. During the pre-certification period, DCP works with developers and property owners to develop the land use proposal and engages in extensive environmental and technical analysis of the applications required for ULURP review. Blueprint's goal is to reduce the time most projects spend in pre-certification by having a clear and predictable review process for both the applicants and agency staff.
What are the BluePRint's goals?
Our ambition is for City Planning to become a more effective economic development agent for the city. For the last 10 years, we have done this successfully by strategically planning for the city's growth and vitality. But we know we are not as effective in our review of applications that seek discretionary approvals for both public and private projects, and we know that these projects are key to the economy of the city as well.
Reforming the review process for applications is a priority for the Department and the agency has dedicated staff time to redesign the pre-certification process. We used the temporary drop in applications due to the economic slowdown to make the changes that are needed to help achieve our ambition of creating a clear, predictable land use and environmental review process to help the agency better support the economy of the city.
What is the pre-certification process?
BluePRint affects projects requiring discretionary approval by the City Planning Commission and City Council and focus on the pre-certification review period – the time between an applicant's first contact with DCP to the start of the formal public review of an application, known as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure or ULURP. During the pre-certification period, DCP works with developers and property owners to develop the land use proposal and engages in extensive environmental and technical analysis of the applications required for ULURP review.
How will BluePRint benefit applicants?
When implementation is complete, City Planning will be able to review two-thirds of all applications 25% to 50% faster than today, saving up to 100 millions of dollars in soft and carrying costs property owners who seek to improve or develop their property every year.
Having a clear and predictable review process will help property owners better time their projects with economic cycles. These process improvements will also benefit other city agencies who regularly apply for discretionary actions, speeding up the creation of affordable housing, economic development projects and open space. Projects will enter ULURP sooner and may happen sooner, benefiting neighborhood residents and bringing in tax revenues for the city.
By making it easier to do business with the city, BluePRint will directly benefit the economy of the city.
How is BluePRint changing the review process?
We have mapped out a new review process that is more predictable and more efficient by reducing review cycles and revisions. The improved process facilitates coordinated review among divisions from the moment an applicant walks in the door with an idea for their property. With the new process, fewer hands are involved in the review, the appropriate divisions are being engaged earlier in the review of applications, and comments are coordinated so the number of revisions is reduced.
The process will now have a formal beginning point with the Pre-Application Statement (PAS) that will allow the applicant to provide the department with a basic set of key information about the site and the project at the beginning of the review process. This information is reviewed by all the relevant divisions, and once a complete PAS is submitted, City Planning is committed to hold an interdivisional meeting with the entire team assigned to a project, in so far as possible, within one month. The goal of this meeting is to identify potential issues related to the project and provide clear guidance on application requirements. Applicants will be guided through the next steps. With the PAS and the Interdivisional meeting, the improved process frontloads information gathering and analysis so that review can be better tailored to address issues and coordinated with the appropriate divisions.
This new process will be supported by published standards that will provide clarity and predictability to the review. From the start of the process, it will be clear to the applicant what is required, what type of professionals will be needed to produce application materials, and how long it should take to put the application together.
Will BluePRint change review standards?
City Planning's mission is to plan for the sustainable growth of our great city. Private and public applications that seek discretionary approvals are an integral part of this effort, and we are committed to ensure that each project reviewed by the Department meets the highest planning and technical standards. BluePRint supports this commitment.
Will BluePRint affect the ULURP process?
No. BluePRint is focused on the period before applications enter the ULURP process. The ULURP clock and procedures are not being modified by BluePRint. Community Boards, Borough Presidents and City Council members will continue to review applications as they do today.
Who is responsible for implementing this new process?
Implementation is being led by Carol Samol, Director of the Bronx Borough office, and executed by a team of City Planning professionals with assistance from consultants. Three new positions have also been created to both support implementation and manage the improved process:
- Pre-Certification Manager dedicated to monitoring and managing the application pipeline and addressing issues that may arise within the pre-certification process;
- a Standards Coordinator to lead the coordination of the design and implementation of the standard application material templates, guidelines, manuals, samples and instructions; and
- a Training and Development Manager to ensure that DCP staff to ensure that DCP staff performs in the new process and that resources are allocated efficiently.
Will the applicants be involved and if so, how?
Consultation with professional practitioners who represent property owners as applicants has been part of BluePRint from the start when City Planning surveyed practitioners to understand their perspective on pre-certification review. We are continuing this collaboration into BluePRint implementation.
We host a regular Standards Forum for practitioners - land use attorneys, architects, environmental review consultants, geographers, and planners - as a venue for critical perspective and constructive feedback on the process changes and application standards. This group meets regularly to review and comment on proposed application standards. The Standards Forum plays an important role in ensuring that the proposed standards are clear and achievable by firms of all sizes. Continued involvement with practitioners and other stakeholders is essential for a successful implementation.
When will BluePRint be fully implemented?
A significant number of improvements are already underway and all property owners and developers can now benefit from the new process. In order to make the new process and standards official City requirements, DCP plans to bring forward these changes through the city's public rulemaking process in 2013.
Implementation continues and will be complete with the launch of a technology system, expected in spring 2015, that will track a project for its entire life cycle, permit electronic filing of applications and allow applicants and the public to view the status of applications and obtain other important related data.
How can I get started with the new process?
You can take advantage of the new process and standards as early as July 2nd. City Planning will launch a new applicant portal designed for applicants: nyc.gov/planning/portal. The applicant portal is a simple, user-friendly guide to the new pre-certification process, where property owners will easily access information and standards.
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I am already in the process; do I need to start with the new process?
If you are already discussing your project with City Planning and want to better understand how the new process affects you, please contact your Borough office liaison. As a general rule, if as part of your project, you have not yet met with technical divisions (TRD and EARD), you will greatly benefit from the improved process and the use of the PAS and the interdivisional meeting. If you have already met with TRD or EARD to discuss your project, you may be able to continue to proceed in the normal course. Your Borough Office liaison will be able to advise you so that City Planning can better serve you.
How can learn more about the new process?
City Planning will hold an information session for practitioners to learn more about the changes to the application process. The Sessions will be held July 20, August 17, and September 14 at 9:00 AM at 22 Reade Street (in Spector Hall). Please RSVP to TCOYNE@planning.nyc.gov