The tentative settlement the City Council reached with the Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development this morning would essentially relieve the city from performing the costly environmental impact report the activists want, but not the condo conversion developers, an attorney for C.R.E.E.D. said.
The settlement would:
- Cap the amount of condo conversions to 1,000 per year. “If they keep conversions less than 1,000 a year, we are comfortable with saying that the impacts aren’t significant,” plaintiffs attorney Cory Briggs said.
- Require bonds from condo-conversion developers ensure that certain repairs (like plumbing and electrical repairs) are made to units under transformation. “The developers want city to accept their promise. We said don’t take their word for it,” Briggs said. “This way somebody else is on the hook, not the city and not the people who buy the condo conversion.”
- Force the city to survey the renters who are displaced from the conversion, and to issue a report on its findings annually.
- Include a $75,000 payment from the city to C.R.E.E.D.
In exchange, the activists will drop their demand that the city needs to conduct a citywide study of the impacts the projects allegedly cause to traffic, parking, the displacement of renters, housing quality and other aspects of the surrounding environment. Also, any condo converter who applies for a project after the ink is dry on the settlement will not have their project held up on an environmental appeal to the City Council, as the currently clogged projects have.
But Briggs said the 5,000 to 6,000 units that are currently held up in court will remain in litigation. The developers of those projects will continue to defend their projects against Briggs, who is asking a judge to stop the projects until an environmental study is conducted.
Evelyn Heidelberg, an attorney for several developers, said she would not comment until she has seen the settlement agreement.