Politico:  Hotel permits proposal approved by City Planning Commission 10.17

Article courtesy of Politico New York Pro — October 18, 2018

A controversial proposal that would limit hotel development in the city’s manufacturing areas was approved on Wednesday by the City Planning Commission.

The policy would require any new hotel development in parts of the city that are zoned for manufacturing uses to obtain a special permit before beginning construction.

This change, long a priority of the politically powerful Hotel Trades Council, would give the union significant leverage when negotiating contracts with hotel owners, as any permit would need to be approved by the union-allied City Council. Proponents have said the policy would help protect well-paying industrial jobs, which they say have been threatened by hotels in manufacturing districts.

“It fulfills a commitment of the mayor’s ten-point industrial action plan,” planning commission Chairwoman Marisa Lago said in remarks prior to the vote. “This targeted, case-by-case, site-specific approach allows for new hotels in M-1 zones where appropriate, while maintaining a focus on assuring that the valuable land in M-1 zones are available for growth in a variety of employment sectors.”

The proposal is expected to pass the City Council. The real estate industry, which has been opposed to the change, continues to have serious concerns.

“This proposal seems based upon politics and not sound land use or planning policy. According to an analysis of city data, the amount of M1 land being used by hotels is less than 1 percent. It is unreasonable to attribute a decline in manufacturing to hotel development,” Real Estate Board of New York President John H. Banks said through a spokesperson.