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What Is a Community Benefits Agreement

The LBC has supported many community organizations in the negotiation, drafting and implementation of community benefits agreements. Although many cost-benefit analyses have proven to be effective tools for improving the economic development process, a large number of criticisms have been made. Perhaps the most important criticism is that ACAs offer no way to ensure that they are truly representative of the needs and desires of the community. The ABC of Atlantic Yards, for example, has been criticized for being negotiated by only a handful of community groups, all funded by the developer, while many other community groups have been excluded from the negotiations. A report from the New York City Bar Association also questioned whether CBA negotiators would conduct appropriate negotiations with developers and whether ACAs would interfere in the planning process. Various legal issues related to investigations and considerations can also weaken the effectiveness of cost-benefit analyses. [23] A cost-benefit analysis requires a lot of time and resources to address a single particular development. As mentioned above, the Kingsbridge CBA lasted 17 years, countless hours of community organizing, and hundreds of hours of legal time. Given the time it takes to negotiate a cost-benefit analysis, CAAs are unlikely to solve a land use problem, but their investigation can provide useful data. For example, in a survey of 225 CBA participants, respondents felt that «increasing public participation in development results» was the most important way to improve the development process. [12] Perhaps participation in a CBA bargaining process increases public interest in participating in development processes and other issues that affect their headquarters in general. Increased interest in local development is particularly useful in low-income communities, where residents are generally less likely to participate in government processes.

CAAs offer two important advantages over the traditional land use permit process. First, the CBA negotiation process allows for a more constructive and collaborative conversation about how to meet the needs of the community than the often adversarial and highly structured hearings that are part of a local government`s project approval process. Second, a private agreement is exempt from some essential legal restrictions that apply to government terms on development projects, allowing the community and developer to negotiate a variety of points of agreement and develop creative approaches. In 2008, New York City chose a development company, the Related Companies, to turn the Armory into a shopping mall. KARA leaders, as well as their pro bono lawyers, met with related representatives to negotiate an ABC focused on the distribution of economic benefits among community stakeholders. The CBA`s terms included a living wage provision in which all employees, including those who work in both construction and permanent operations, are paid above the state minimum wage at the time. As Related was unwilling to accept this higher salary, negotiations failed. KARA then lobbied the New York City Council, which voted almost unanimously against the related mall project and then passed a living wage bill that increased salaries for city-funded projects.

CBA campaigns to spread the economic benefits of development among low-income communities are also taking hold in New England. In December 2014, the Somerville Redevelopment Authority and Union Square Station Associates entered into an agreement for a major development project that would include a community-based planning process and the CBA. [5] The planning process should include public workshops, public design carts, community exams in several languages and, finally, a neighbourhood plan for the rehabilitation of seven blocks. [6] To facilitate CBA negotiations, the Mayor of Somerville hired a real estate consulting firm, LOCUS, to conduct outreach and engage the community. [7] Local governments can proactively manage future growth by applying community advantage principles to large parcels of land for development. If the land is owned by the government or developed under an agreement with the local government, officials may include community benefits in tenders. Community groups should consider how each provision is monitored and enforced in a cost agreement. While financial obligations and other one-time benefits are fairly easy to monitor, other obligations to developers and tenants, such as living wages and local hiring requirements, may have existed for decades and require long-term oversight. To address this issue, CBAs have included regular reporting and disclosure requirements, complaint investigation mechanisms, and provisions for the establishment of oversight committees. When a CBA is included in a development agreement, government agencies can also play a role in overseeing the implementation of the CBA. [5] Some local officials who want to encourage the use of ACAs in their cities have considered guidelines that require developers to negotiate ACAs. The Community Benefits Law Center generally advises against this approach for two reasons: (1) It is not clear who will negotiate on behalf of the «community» in such circumstances, and the process could be coordinated by better-connected and well-equipped interests; and (2) in the case of projects that do not receive a grant (or are otherwise subject to a government agreement), the CBA may be subject to the same legal restrictions that govern the terms of the project permit and limit the types of community benefits that may be included.

Ultimately, the ABCs at Kingsbridge National Ice Center included the following common benefits: An CBA is a legally binding contract between a coalition of community organizations and the proponent of a proposed project. In exchange for the coalition`s public support for the project in the approval process, the proponent agrees to bring benefits to the local community as the project progresses. In this way, the coalition is involved in the development of the project, while the promoter builds community support and strengthens local partnerships. The result is a smoother approval process for the developer and a better project for the community. Therefore, despite its long and arduous process and timeline in cases where such work is possible, a representative and enforceable CBA can be one of the most effective tools currently available to communities that wish to share the benefits of development in their neighborhoods. Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) campaigns have become commonplace nationwide to address income inequality in poor neighborhoods. An ABC is a contract between a coalition of community groups and a developer in which the proponent agrees to provide a number of economic benefits in exchange for the coalition`s promise not to oppose the development project. The CBA movement has its roots in the early 2000s with the efforts of community coalitions to secure living wages, local hiring, and green building requirements for low-income communities that have traditionally been excluded from the development planning process for their own neighborhoods. The ABC, which was negotiated in 2001 to develop L.A. Live, a large entertainment complex in Los Angeles, is considered the first major ABC to benefit low-income communities. .