A landowner has filed a court petition over Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans to implement stricter zoning laws for new hotels in Union Square following allegations that the policy is a favor to a politically-connected union.
Landowner ELK MAS 86 East 10th LLC wants a judge to overturn the city’s findings that the mayor’s plan — requiring hotel developers to get special permits — wouldn’t have a negative impact on Union Square, according to new court papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court Monday.
In fact, the property owner’s attorney argues, the plan would decrease tourism thereby negatively impacting local businesses and city revenue.
The mayor’s proposal would force new hotels to go through the lengthy Uniform Land Use Review Procedure — requiring reviews and votes before the community board, Department of City Planning and City Council — a process which ELK MAS says is cumbersome and would stifle hotel growth.
The petition also takes issue with the City Planning Commission’s findings that the Mayor’s plan wouldn’t cause negative environmental or socio-economic impact as the review was only conducted in Union Square while the plan, they say, would ultimately be rolled out throughout the city.
ELK MAS — which plans to build a hotel in the area — wants a citywide review of the proposal to be conducted before the Union Square rezoning plan goes into effect, the court documents say.
“If the real social and economic costs of the plan were disclosed, no one would defend it,” the court papers claim.
“So the Mayor has come up with a way to conceal the scale of those impacts: Impose the permit requirement in increments — a neighborhood here, a neighborhood there — bypassing the required SERQA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) review of its cumulative effects, and acclimating the public and the City Council to the permit regime,” the petition alleges.
Richard Emery, the lawyer representing ELK MAS, told The Post, “This is the first case of what will likely be a series of litigations to challenge the special permit requirement for hotel development in New York City.”
Emery said if the plan goes through it, “will be a disaster for city revenues and all the businesses that rely on tourists.”
The Mayor came under fire for ordering the study of his special permitting plan, which would benefit the Hotel Trades Council, as he was launching his 2020 campaign. He denied pay-to-play allegations over the move.
The City Planning Commission and the City Planning Department — both named in the petition alongside the city — deferred comment to the Law Department.
The rep with the city Law Department said, “We will review the case thoroughly when we are served.”
The mayor’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
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