Relates to community benefits agreements; places the benefit at the discretion of the applicant.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general municipal law, in relation to community benefits agreements
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This legislation requires that when a community benefits agreement is entered into as a condition to obtain an approval or permit, the applicant shall have discretion over where the benefit is located provided that the benefit is accessible to the public. Additionally, if the benefit is placed on the property that the application pertains to, the benefit must be reasonably related to the project undertaken by the applicant.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section One amends the general municipal law by adding a new article 12-I concerning community benefits agreements. The new section 239-bb pertains to situations where a community benefits agreement is considered as a part of any proceeding, or to be a condition to obtain an approval or permit. A community benefits agreement is a private agreement between an applicant seeking approvals or permits where support or forbearance with respect to such approvals or permits is the consideration for such agreement. This bill gives the applicant discretion as to where a tangible benefit shall be located provided that the benefit be accessible to the public. Additionally, if the applicant chooses to position the benefit on the site being developed, the benefit must be reasonably related to the project being undertaken by the applicant.
This section also directs the permitting municipality to establish a monetary amount that shall be the maximum amount the developer shall be required to spend in providing a community benefit. The municipality shall not set this amount in excess of five percent of the increased density above what current zoning law allows for the project. No other community benefits agreement made between the developer and any other municipality or community organization shall require the developer to incur any expense in excess of the amount set by the municipality.
These requirements do not apply to a city with a population of one million or more.
Section Two is the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Community benefits agreements are sometimes entered into between a developer and a community organization or a developer and a municipality. Under these agreements, the developer's project is supported so long as the developer agrees to include some sort of benefit to the community. These benefits are often intangible such as agreeing to living wage or prevailing wage requirements, green building requirements, or a provision that prohibits developers from hiring contractors that have violated certain laws. Sometimes, the benefit is in the form of funding for a community organization or program. When
such benefit is tangible, such as construction of a park or recreational facility, this legislation would allow the applicant/developer discretion as to the benefit's location. In the event that a developer chooses to place the benefit on the same property as the project, the applicant/developer must make the benefit accessible to the public and also ensure that the benefit is reasonably related to the project. The restrictions in the bill serve to protect the intent of the community benefit as something to enhance the community at large, as opposed to a mere enhancement of the developer's project.
Subsection two of the bill protects the developer from rising costs relating to the benefit by establishing a maximum cost at the outset of the project. Without an established price, the developer can wind up spending far in excess of what they budgeted for to fulfill their duties under the community benefit agreement. This amount is set by the permitting municipality and is capped in relation to how far the project exceeds the allowed density under the zoning law. Under this legislation, the cost of the benefit cannot exceed 5% of the increased density. This not only guarantees transparency throughout the process and protects the developer from unforeseen costs, but it also guarantees that the amount spent on the benefit relates to the amount by which the developer is benefitted by the municipality or organization's support of their project.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3415 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 1, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. ZELDIN, SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection AN ACT to amend the general municipal law, in relation to community benefits agreements THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The general municipal law is amended by adding a new arti- cle 12-I to read as follows: ARTICLE 12-I COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENTS SECTION 239-BB. COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENTS. S 239-BB. COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENTS. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY LAW, RULE OR REGULATION TO THE CONTRARY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ISSUANCE OF ANY APPROVALS OR PERMITS ANY BENEFIT THAT IS TANGIBLE MAY BE PLACED AT THE DISCRETION OF THE APPLICANT SO LONG AS THE BENEFIT IS PUBLICLY ACCESSI- BLE. IF THE EXERCISE OF SUCH DISCRETION AS PERMITTED UNDER THIS SECTION RESULTS IN THE PLACEMENT OF A TANGIBLE COMMUNITY BENEFIT ON, OR ADJACENT TO, THE DEVELOPER'S PROJECT SITE, IT SHALL BE REQUIRED THAT THE BENEFIT BE REASONABLY RELATED TO THE PROJECT UNDERTAKEN BY SUCH APPLICANT. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, A COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENT IS A PRIVATE AGREEMENT BETWEEN AN APPLICANT SEEKING ANY APPROVALS OR PERMITS PURSUANT TO ARTICLE SIXTEEN OF THE TOWN LAW, ARTICLE SEVEN OF THE VILLAGE LAW OR ARTICLE FIVE-A OF THE GENERAL CITY LAW AND A COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION OR ORGANIZATIONS, WHERE SUPPORT OR FORBEARANCE WITH RESPECT TO SUCH APPROVALS OR PERMITS IS THE CONSIDERATION FOR SUCH AGREEMENT, EXCEPT THAT THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO A CITY WITH A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE. 2. PRIOR TO ENTERING INTO A COMMUNITY BENEFIT AGREEMENT WITH A DEVEL- OPER, THE MUNICIPALITY SHALL SET FORTH A MONETARY AMOUNT THAT THE DEVEL- OPER SHALL ALLOCATE TO PROVIDING THE BENEFIT. SUCH AMOUNT SHALL BE BASEDEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD06440-02-3 S. 3415 2
ON A PERCENTAGE OF THE TOTAL PROJECT COST THAT SHALL NOT EXCEED FIVE PERCENT OF THE INCREASED DENSITY ABOVE WHAT IS ALLOWABLE FOR THE PROJECT UNDER CURRENT ZONING LAW. SUCH AMOUNT SHALL BE THE MAXIMUM FOR THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY BENEFIT AGREEMENT, INCLUDING ANY AGREEMENT MADE WITH ANY OR ALL COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS OR OTHER MUNICIPALITIES. AFTER ESTABLISHING SUCH AMOUNT, THE MUNICIPALITY SHALL NOT BE PERMITTED TO INCREASE THE COST THAT THE DEVELOPER SHALL BE REQUIRED TO INCUR IN PROVIDING THE BENEFIT. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.