The Office of the Brooklyn Borough President is Undertaking a Comprehensive Planning Effort for the Borough Focused on Improving Public Health Outcomes for Brooklynites.
Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso’s Comprehensive Plan is rooted in data and public engagement.
Learn more about Comprehensive Planning below.
WHY COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING?
Our city and Brooklyn face historically unprecedented and difficult times. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Brooklyn residents faced disparities in public health, affordable housing, vulnerability to climate change, and were grappling with the effects of generational racism and inequality. The pandemic has both exacerbated these inequities and exposed systemic flaws in how we approach them – specifically, the City’s unwillingness to engage in comprehensive planning.
While nearly every major city in the world has a comprehensive plan, New York City does not. The Borough President’s Office is committed to undertaking this effort for Brooklyn because:
- The borough level is a geography unique to the City of New York, and the Borough President has a role in supporting residents’ health;
- This plan will be data driven, with a robust existing conditions report to equip communities with information to help them make the most knowledgeable and data-supported decisions. After consultation with leading experts in the field, the existing conditions report utilizes best practices for sourcing information (i.e., U.S. Census Bureau, NYC Open Data, and the CDC) as well as some proprietary data from Brooklyn Borough Hall partners; and
- Most importantly, this plan will be rooted in public health outcomes — every resulting land use recommendation from the Borough President’s Office will be tied to improving public health and reducing health disparities across Brooklyn.
We’ve seen time and again that planning issues do not occur in isolation, and we cannot solve entrenched problems on a site-by-site basis. Issues like rising housing costs, basement flooding in homes, and overcrowded schools are cyclical, deeply intertwined, and do not recognize political boundaries. Comprehensive planning allows us to take a sober look at local challenges, understand the scope of their impact, and develop holistic, responsive approaches to meet those challenges. It also helps to address three big challenges within planning:
- Identifying, forecasting, and preparing for the greatest challenges each community faces and is expected to encounter;
- Being proactive as opposed to reactive to them; and
- Allowing communities to advocate for one another as opposed to competing for limited resources.
Finally, this effort does not replace the need for comprehensive planning at the citywide level. Borough President Reynoso will continue to support legislation and community efforts toward developing and adopting a citywide comprehensive plan.
How will the Borough President’s Office use the Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn?
First and foremost, the Comprehensive Plan will be used to guide Brooklyn Borough Hall’s land use decisions. Borough President Reynoso has a Charter-mandated role in reviewing applications moving through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the City’s process for the review and approval of discretionary land use changes. ULURP is not a substitute for planning, but the Comprehensive Plan will allow the Borough President to submit ULURP recommendations with accountability and predictability to the public based on the Plan recommendations.
Who is involved in this effort?
The Borough President’s Office wants to hear from constituents throughout this process. Take a few minutes to look through the existing conditions report and provide feedback. On Monday, December 12, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President will host a townhall at Borough Hall creating a space for public engagement, dialogue, and open feedback about the data that has been collected to date. Stay tuned for future engagement opportunities around developing draft recommendations.
Brooklyn Borough Hall has been working diligently with our partners, the Regional Plan Association (RPA) and the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), to complete the existing conditions report. Hester Street, our community engagement partner, will be ensuring that this critical information makes it out to all corners of our borough, gathering all resulting public feedback. The Borough President’s goal is to involve stakeholders from all walks of life and has identified participants for a Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee based on their experience in addressing urban planning issues at the intersection of public health, the environment and climate change, housing, transportation, and other subjects. The Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee is made up of approximately 25 non-profit, government, and academic institutions and organizations across the borough that will provide their expertise and support the ongoing community engagement efforts through their respective networks. Engagement with the Advisory Committee and other bodies to date includes:
- April 2022: Borough President convened Advisory Committee for Brooklyn Comprehensive Plan
- May 2022: Borough President partnered with RPA and the NYAM to identify key data needed to conduct an existing conditions report with a focus on public health and the disparate impacts on health by race and income
- July 2022: RPA and NYAM led a charrette with the Advisory Committee to verify key data indicators and seek advice on any additional information that should be included in the existing conditions report
- September 2022: Borough President provided overview of Comprehensive Plan project to the Brooklyn Borough Board Meeting
- November 2022: RPA and NYAM presented their top findings from existing conditions research and report to the Brooklyn Borough Board and Brooklyn Service Cabinet Meeting
How can others use the Comprehensive Plan?
While the primary purpose for the Comprehensive Plan is to guide the Brooklyn Borough President’s land use decisions, the Borough President recognizes the value in bringing residents, elected officials, and City agencies together to share information. Building dialogue and consensus around common goals requires working across different communities, getting buy-in from various stakeholders, and balancing competing interests. The Borough President is hopeful that the data and recommendations shared throughout this process will be useful for community groups, other elected officials, and City agencies alike.
When is the final plan expected to be released?
The existing conditions report is live, and the Borough President’s Office will be collecting feedback on the data through January 31, 2023. A final existing conditions report will be issued following the public comment window. A draft recommendations report is expected to be released in Spring 2023, with opportunities for community input throughout the spring. A final report will be released in Summer 2023.