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April 29, 2010

Fixing Community Benefits Agreements

The Huffington Post
by John Petro

But there is widespread agreement that the CBA process, if you can call it a process, is broken in New York City. Today's New York Times highlights a recent report that outlines some of the problems with how CBA's are negotiated, implemented, and enforced in New York City.

After all, the Atlantic Yards development had a CBA attached to it. But there were questions about whether the community was truly involved in the negotiation process. Clearly the resistance and lawsuits did not stop after the CBA was signed. Clearly some communities felt left out of the process.

There are questions of accountability, especially when grant payments are made by the developer to community groups. And what if a developer does not deliver on the promised benefits? Who has the power to enforce the CBA? Remember that CBAs are private agreements between the developer and the community--the city is not officially involved in these negotiations--and that CBA's do not carry the power of law.


NoLandGrab: We don't think it's a stretch to say that the Atlantic Yards CBA bears primary responsibility for the huge and growing concern over CBAs.

Related coverage...

City Limits, Strong Feelings About Yankee Stadium Deal? Too Bad.

City comptroller John Liu in February blasted what he said was "a string of broken promises to communities and questionable involvement by some government officials" in development deals from "Atlantic Yards to Yankee Stadium to the Columbia University expansion." Liu announced a task force to "establish standards…that ensure benefits for the public when private developers receive benefits from the public."

That task force is now meeting. But its meetings are closed to the public.

Posted by eric at April 29, 2010 10:54 AM