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Courtesy Van Bramer’s office
The City Council passes Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s legislation that will bring transparency and accountability to the Board of Standards and Appeals decisions.
By Bill Parry

On several occasions since 2010, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) has watched as the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals approved developers’ projects that had been rejected by Van Bramer or Community Board 2. Each time, BSA was not compelled to explain its decision, so Van Bramer drafted legislation to bring transparency and accountability to BSA decisions.

On Wednesday, the City Council passed Van Bramer’s bill that will require the SBA to directly state and address how concerns from the public were considered in reaching a final decision. The bill is part of a larger package of nine bills that will strengthen community voices in the fight against developers.

“The five commissioners of the Board of Standards and Appeals wield enormous power and make consequential decisions that affect neighborhood character and affordability,” Van Bramer said. “When a developer in pursuit of higher profits requests an exemption from a zoning law by submitting an appeal to the board, concerns from members of the community often arise. If the board ever votes against the apparent wants and needs of a neighborhood, I believe that the members of the community who will ultimately live with the consequences of the board’s decision deserve to know why.”

Meanwhile, Van Bramer was officially endorsed for re-election by the Queens County Democratic Party and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) Monday. He has already been endorsed by the Working Families Party, the UFT and Local 32BJ.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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