A Change in Land Use Leadership in New York City
Sally Goldenberg offers insight into the potential political effects of a new council speaker in New York City.
The newly elected speaker, Ryan Johnson, has "indicated he will take a more active role in the Council’s land use negotiations," according to Goldenberg.
For context, the previous speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, had a "hands-off style" that proved to be an obstacle to Mayor Bill de Blasio's goals for housing and development. "Mark-Viverito, whose term as speaker ended on Dec. 31, agreed with much of the mayor's agenda," according to Goldenberg. "But she gave the other 50 legislators control over the future of development in their districts, allowing them to reject unpopular residential projects and, in recent cases, attempt to block proposals that don't even require public input."
Goldenberg also details how former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Council Speaker Christine Quinn negotiated the minutia of development deals, often trading down zonings in nearby neighborhoods to deliver an approval.
During de Blasio's term, several high-profile projects have been shot down by local councilmembers. Although Johnson has said he will support local councilmembers, but also introduced the idea that he might overrule them on occasion.