Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Should the MTA Be Exempt From The City's Zoning Laws?

City officials are unhappy over a new measure introduced in this year's state budget

The city is raising an alarm over a new law that may allows the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build on its property without any review from the local government, the Wall Street Journal reports. The legislation was tucked away in this year's state budget, which was approved on April 1, and it was while conducting a review of that budget that New York City officials came across the new law.

Under the new law, apartments or commercial buildings built on MTA land could be exempt from property taxes and override zoning laws. The MTA on its part clarified to the WSJ that the agency already had similar legal authority, but that projects like the Hudson Yards redevelopment proved that the agency has always worked collaboratively with the city.

With the MTA's growing financial needs, city officials are worried that the agency may use its real estate to generate income without any review from the city. Previously, the law exempted the MTA from zoning requirements on properties that were used for transportation or transit purposes. This new law expands on that, allowing for development that would create revenue for transportation costs.

At the end of last month, a State Assembly member from Brooklyn introduced legislation to repeal that law. Though MTA officials insisted to the WSJ that they plan to continue working with the city like they have previously.

What do you think of this measure?


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