FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, DEPUTY MAYOR LIEBER AND DEPUTY MAYOR SKYLER LAUNCH SURVEY TO IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS
On-line Questionnaire Solicits Public Comments
Effort to Identify Obstacles and Propose Solutions that Improve City Procedures Related to Environmental Review Process, as Promised in State of the City
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler today launched an on-line questionnaire to solicit input from New Yorkers to improve the management of the environmental review process. Environmental reviews are critical to the City's decision-making process in approving, rejecting or shaping development projects, and they reveal and propose ways to mitigate the environmental impacts of proposed development. The environmental review process solicits and requires the input of experts and the public to ensure a full and comprehensive vetting of a proposed project's impact. This survey will help the City to improve and expedite environmental review by identifying inefficiencies and proposing ways to improve the process - without compromising environmental protection standards or impeding public input. The survey solicits feedback on how projects should be prioritized and how agency resources should be allocated, as well as how the City might improve inter-agency coordination, the completion of timely and efficient analysis, and communication among City agencies, applicants and the public. The survey does not address changes to legislative policy, legal standards, analytical methodologies, or other planning processes, such as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. It is part of the City's ongoing commitment to make government work more efficiently to facilitate responsible development, while at the same time improving, and ultimately strengthening, environmental protections.
"Identifying opportunities to reduce costs and delays in the environmental review procedure will bring greater predictability to the process," said Mayor Bloomberg. "By gathering information from stakeholders - from consultants to community boards - we will be positioned to improve the process without compromising environmental protection standards or public participation."
"The environmental review process, and particularly the public forum it requires, is a critical tool that enables the City to make informed, responsible decisions about development," said Deputy Mayor Lieber. "Now more than ever, we need to take steps to make the process as straightforward and transparent as possible, to promote more responsible development as the economy improves."
"Mayor Bloomberg has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to the environment, and responsible, sustainable growth in New York City," said Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler, "that's what PlaNYC is designed to achieve, and through this survey, we'll improve the way that City agencies process individual projects, while maintaining the protections and input that the environmental review process provides."
Over the past 10 years, New York City has experienced unprecedented levels of expansion and development: annual construction spending has tripled to over $30 billion, and the construction industry directly employs over 100,000 people. While construction starts have slowed during the economic downturn, the City is taking the opportunity to develop and implement recommendations to improve the environmental review process to encourage responsible development throughout the five boroughs.
Through the on-line questionnaire, the City is seeking input from stakeholders including applicants, developers, community members, civic groups, consulting firms, agencies, community boards and elected officials. Individuals with experience in the City's environmental review process are especially urged to participate.
An interagency team made up of representatives from the Office of the Mayor, the Office of Environmental Coordination, Department of City Planning, Department of Environmental Protection, New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York City Law Department and other agencies will review the information and use it to inform potential improvements to the process.
To access the questionnaire, go to www.nyc.gov. The questionnaire will be available on the website until May 22, 2009.
Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958