FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES NEW WAYS TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR NEW YORKERS TO SEE AND REVIEW CONSTRUCTION PLANS IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, February 8, 2009
"Good morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Transparency and accountability: those have been the hallmarks of our Administration at City Hall. Over the past seven years, we've swung open the doors of City government and given the public the essential information it needs to make sure that we are living up to our obligations and responsibilities to New Yorkers.
"For instance, through our new Citywide Performance Reporting system, everyone can access vital indicators on the health of their neighborhoods and the quality of government services, like fire protection and street cleaning. And with our new school performance report cards, we're giving parents the hard facts about how well their children's schools are doing.
"Now, we're bringing new levels of transparency and accountability to New York City's construction industry.
"Beginning in March, developers will be required to post on the City's website a mockup drawing of every new construction project in the city as soon as it has been approved by the Buildings Department. We're going to be the first city in the nation to make these diagrams available online, and they will detail the critical information that's needed to determine whether a project is in compliance with required zoning regulations - like its size and scale.
"The public will then have 30 days to challenge the Buildings Department's approval. A high-level official in the Department will consider each challenge. If it's deemed to be a valid challenge, the Buildings Department will take appropriate action to enforce compliance - and that could involve issuing 'Stop Work' orders, revoking permits, and requiring redesigns.
"Clearly, these new reforms will give New Yorkers a much stronger voice in the development that's taking place in their neighborhoods. Before, the public simply didn't have easy access to the information it needed to make a challenge against a building project.
"But at the same time, these reforms will also give developers a much-needed dose of certainty that had been missing in the construction process. Up until now, the public could lodge a zoning challenge at any point during the construction of the building - even after a building was out of the ground or even complete. And that often led to expensive lawsuits, costly construction delays, and ultimately a lot of uncertainty for developers, which can be the death of any project.
"To keep New York City building - especially in today's tough economic climate - we've got to limit delays and reduce uncertainty. That's absolutely vital to our economy and to our future. By making sure the public is more aware of the development going on in their neighborhoods, we can ensure that the city we all love continues to grow steadily and responsibly.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address