The Uniform Land Use Review Procedure is a process of community board and city council review for new developments that will require rezoning. Rezoning is needed when a developer wants to build residential units in a manufacturing district (i.e. lofts) or a commercial-use building in a residence district, or a higher density apartment complex in a lower density residential area. The developer will have to go through the ULURP in order to have the proposal approved and the lot rezoned before they can begin construction.
The ULURP was founded in 1975 in order to temper some of the runaway development in New York City and give local communities more agency and oversight when it came to their built environments. (ny.curbed.com, 2020)
It is worth emphasizing that the ULURP is only triggered when a development requires a rezoning. As-of-right zoning where, for example, an R10 residential building is proposed in an R10 district, allows for a much simpler zoning review by the NYC Department of Buildings. (Fontan Architecture, 2019)
The ULURP is a six-step process, barring any misfiled paperwork or modifications introduced into the proposal, and it can take up to seven months to complete.
1. The developer will file a ULURP application with the Department of City Planning. In order to have the application certified, the developer may have to begin the first steps of an environmental quality review.
2. Once the application is certified, it is sent to the community board for approval. (The community board only serves in advisory capacity, and can’t deny the proposal, only give a recommendation.)
3. The Borough President will then review the application and give his/her recommendation (in an advisory capacity).
4. The City Planning Commission will then vote on whether to approve the plan, make modifications, or reject it.
5. The City Council will then do the same.
6. Finally, the mayor has five days to veto the application, though this is rare.