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Fair Share Criteria: A Guide for City Agencies cover Fair Share Criteria: A Guide for City Agencies, revised 1998. ($5.00)
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Introduction

The 1989 City Charter (Section 203) required the City Planning Commission to adopt criteria to further the fair distribution of the burdens and benefits associated with city facilities, consistent with community needs for services and efficient and cost effective delivery of services and with due regard for the social and economic impacts of such facilities upon the areas surrounding the sites.

To encourage early consultation with communities, a companion provision in the Charter (Section 204) requires the city to publish an annual Citywide Statement of Needs listing and describing the facilities the city plans to site, close, or substantially change in size over the next two years. Community boards are given the opportunity to comment on the statement, and the borough presidents may propose sites in their boroughs for needed facilities. To inform the public of existing patterns of municipal uses, the Statement of Needs must be accompanied by a map and list of city-owned and leased properties (called the Atlas and Gazetteer of City Property).

In accordance with the Charter, the City Planning Commission adopted the Criteria for the Location of City Facilities which have been in effect since July 1, 1991. They are commonly known as the "fair share" criteria because they attempt to foster an equitable distribution of public facilities throughout the city. They do so by encouraging community consultation and by establishing a set of considerations that must be taken into account by city agencies when they select sites for new facilities or substantially change existing facilities.

The guide was first issued in 1991, before the criteria actually took effect, to help city agencies interpret and apply the new regulations in their siting decisions. Changes of this kind are rarely easy, and developing a consistent approach to the criteria was especially challenging during the early years of the new regulations. This revised guide benefits from the experience of many agencies over the past seven years and reflects the practices, interpretations, and judicial rulings that have emerged since 1991.

The Department of City Planning (DCP) encourages agencies to use the guide when they submit applications subject to the fair share criteria for City Planning Commission review. Although an agency's consideration of the criteria is not publicly reviewed until the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) or contract procurement process is underway, project planners should begin to keep the criteria in mind well before that time -- when they evaluate service needs and consider new facilities or changes in facilities, when they begin to identify possible sites, and when they analyze the factors that will determine their ultimate choice of site. Consideration of the criteria at the earliest decision points may be critical to successful completion of a siting action.

The guide explains how the criteria may affect a range of agency actions, such as:

  • planning new facilities and choosing their sites
  • expanding, reducing or closing facilities
  • preparing departmental statements for the annual citywide statement of needs
  • issuing requests for proposals
  • consulting with community boards and borough presidents
  • justifying choice of site in the ULURP review process, the office acquisition review process, or in a statement to the Mayor, as applicable
  • responding to community concerns about facility operation.

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