Volume 74, Number 25 | Octuber 20 - 26 , 2004

Publication zones in on land use

By Albert Amateau

CityLand, a new publication from the Center for New York City Law at New York Law School, will cover the monthly activities of the five New York City agencies that have jurisdiction on land use.

The first issue, dated Oct. 15, has an article about a variance to allow the proposed Comedy Club to use an expanded site on W. 14th St. near the Gansevoort Market. There is also a report on a federal court decision upholding the city Landmarks order to restore “The Wall,” the art structure on 599 Broadway in the Soho-Cast Iron Historic District. Another article tells about the State Supreme Court denying a move by the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association to stop a hearing on the Hudson Yards project.

With reports written in layman’s language, each 16-page issue of CityLand will include detailed maps, photos and comprehensive charts listing every project including new applications, certifications and decisions from the Department of City Planning, Board of Standards and Appeals, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Department of Buildings and the New York City Council.

“The purpose of the newsletter is to keep the public and people working in the land-use area informed and allow them to participate in the process,” said Ross Sandler, a lawyer and director of New York Law School’s Center for New York City Law.

“We translate everything into English,” said Sandler. “It’s been difficult to keep up with what happens in so many different agencies. Historically it’s been the private preserve of a few lawyers and other specialists. CityLand will help close the information gap by collecting all land-use decisions in a comprehensive easy-to-read monthly publication,” said Sandler, who was Department of Transportation Commissioner from 1986-1990.

For the first issue, more than 100 subscribers have paid $400 for 11 issues per year. “Mostly architects and government officials, but we have a lot of ordinary readers,” Sandler said. The Center for New York City Law maintains a fee Web site, www.citylaw.org, which provides access to more than 20,000 decisions from more than 15 agencies in an online database. “It’s important for us to keep the Web site free to serve as the public’s library of city regulations,” Sandler said.

Preparing for CityLand took a year. “We had to meet with each agency and convince them to make the information available to us electronically. They see the benefit because we will be able to serve as their first link to the public,” said Sandler, a graduate of New York University School of Law and a Village resident for 40 years.

Molly Brennan, a land-use lawyer who worked in San Francisco before coming to New York, is CityLand’s editor. For more information or to subscribe, phone 212-431-2115 or e-mail nycitylaw@nyls.edu or visit www.citylaw.org.

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