Bill S6103-2011

Requires that one of the members of the board of standards and appeals be a financial analyst

Requires that one of the members of the board of standards and appeals be a financial analyst with professional qualifications and at least ten years experience as a financial analyst.

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  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO CITIES

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6103

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the New York city charter, in relation to requiring that one of the members of the board of standards and appeals be a financial analyst with professional qualifications and at least ten years experience as a financial analyst

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill amends subdivision b of section 659 of the New York city charter, as added by local law number 49 of the city of New York for the year 1991, by requiring that one of the board members must be a financial analyst with professional qualifications and at least ten years experience as a financial analyst.

Section 2 provides for this act to take effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION: Currently, the New York city charter requires the Board of Standards and Appeals ("BSA") to have at least one member who is a planner with professional qualifications, one member who is a registered architect and one member who is licensed professional engineer, all of whom must have at least 10 years' experience in their respective professional field.

Given the particular jurisdiction of BSA on various land use and buildings issues, it is obvious why the Charter requires there to be a planner, architect and a professional engineer. However, given the broad powers of BSA in granting variances based in large part on economic and financial factors it should also be obvious that there is an important need for one member of BSA to be a financial analyst.

One of the primary functions of BSA is to review variance applications. As part of the variance review process, BSA must make five findings prior to issuing a variance, which in part illustrates the "practical difficulties" or "unnecessary hardship" alleged to exist if the applicant was subject to strict compliance with the Zoning Resolution. See Zoning Resolution, Art. VII, §72-21

If BSA confirms the existence of a "unique physical condition"(1), they are then required to determine if "because of such physical conditions there is no reasonable possibility that the development of the zoning lot in strict conformity with" the applicable zoning "will bring a reasonable return. and that the grant of the variance is therefore necessary to enable the owner to realize a reasonable return from such zoning lot." §72-21(b) (emphasis added).

The term "reasonable return", although somewhat vague and certainly open to interpretation, clearly involves consideration of economic

and financial factors in the assessment of whether granting a variance is necessary. The Zoning Resolution also requires that each of the five findings be "supported by substantial evidence or other data considered by the Board in reaching its decision", which in this case should mean "substantial" financial and economic evidence of "reasonable return".

Therefore, it is important that BSA have a member with significant expertise in providing reasoned, fact-based financial analyses in the same way that the inclusion of a planner, architect and engineer provides particular expertise of those professionals in order to assist their member colleagues with a well reasoned and thorough understanding of the issues upon which BSA must render its decisions.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.

FOOTNOTE: (1) This finding requires the existence of "unique physical conditions"... which result in "practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship arise in complying strictly with the use or bulk provisions of the Resolution; and that the alleged practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship are not due to circumstances created generally by the strict application of such provisions in the neighborhood or district in which the zoning lot is located." §72-21(a).


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6103 IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 4, 2012 ___________
Introduced by Sen. AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Cities AN ACT to amend the New York city charter, in relation to requiring that one of the members of the board of standards and appeals be a finan- cial analyst with professional qualifications and at least ten years experience as a financial analyst THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision b of section 659 of the charter of the city of New York, as added by local law number 49 of the city of New York for the year 1991, is amended to read as follows: b. One of the members shall be a planner with professional qualifica- tions and at least ten years' experience as a planner. One of the members shall be a registered architect and shall have had at least ten years' experience as an architect. One of the members shall be a licensed professional engineer and shall have had at least ten years' experience as an engineer. ONE OF THE MEMBERS SHALL BE A FINANCIAL ANALYST WITH PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS AND AT LEAST TEN YEARS' EXPERI- ENCE AS A FINANCIAL ANALYST. The mayor shall designate one of the members, who shall have the required experience as an architect, planner [or as an], engineer OR AS A FINANCIAL ANALYST, to serve as chair and shall designate one of the members to serve as vice-chair, who shall act as chair in the absence of the chair or in the event that a vacancy exists in the office of chair. Of the members, no more than two shall be residents of any one borough. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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