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New York's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure: Past, Present, and Future

(210 reviews)

Produced on August 09, 2018

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Course Information

Time 51m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Real Estate

Course Description

The Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) was added to the New York City Charter in 1975 to provide a single process for the review and approval of significant land use actions, including zoning map amendments, changes in the city map, City Planning Commission special permits, site selection for capital projects, urban renewal plans, disposition of City-owned property, and the acquisition of real property by the City. The ULURP sets forth a time frame and other requirements for advisory review by the Community Boards and Borough Presidents and final determinations by the City Planning Commission and Board of Estimate. In 1989, the Board of Estimate was ruled unconstitutional on Equal Protection grounds and ULURP was amended to allocate the Board’s powers between the City Planning Commission and the City Council. This Spring, the Mayor established a Charter Revision Commission which has identified the land use process as one of the issues to be addressed.  

This course, presented by experienced land use attorneys Howard Goldman and Caroline G. Harris, will explain how ULURP works, touch on the key issues relevant to to the Charter Revision Commission’s review, and explore how ULURP might be amended.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Examine how ULURP works in theory
  2. Discuss how ULURP works in practice
  3. Identify key legal issues  associated with ULURP
  4. Consider how ULURP can be modified through Charter revision

Credit Information

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Caroline Harris

GoldmanHarris, LLC

Caroline G. Harris is Managing Partner at GoldmanHarris LLC, which she formed with Howard Goldman in 2009 after being his partner in the Law Offices of Howard Goldman for a year. Her practice is focused on New York City zoning, land use and historic preservation. She is considered an expert on development rights deals.

Ms. Harris represents the full gamut of real estate clients: developers of residential (market rate and affordable), community facility, commercial and manufacturing buildings, lenders, investors, and not for profit organizations. Her work includes preparing zoning analyses, addressing critical issues during project design and approval, representing sellers or purchasers of development rights, reviewing or preparing zoning opinions, and obtaining interpretations of the zoning regulations on an as-of-right basis or modifying the regulations through discretionary approvals so the client can achieve its goals. She has served as an expert witness in arbitration and litigation.

She regularly appears before the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals, City Planning Commission and Landmarks Preservation Commission. Her work often involves the City’s Department of Buildings and Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Occasionally, Ms. Harris opposes projects that appear to violate the zoning or raise significant public policy issues. On a pro bono basis, through the NYC Panel on Climate Change (2008) and the Bar Association of the City of New York, she promoted modifications of the zoning for sustainability and adaptation to climate change.

Ms. Harris was a clerk for the Honorable John V. Singleton, (former) Chief Judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. After trying out litigation, she landed a position as Associate Counsel for the New York City Department of City Planning and was able to pursue her passion for NYC and planning. She has worked in several firms, first as an associate, then as counsel, specializing in zoning in NYC.

Ms. Harris is recognized as a "New York Super Lawyer" and “Top Woman Lawyer.” The Real Deal profiled her and her partner as two of New York City’s seven Elite Land Use Attorneys, and her firm is listed in US News & World Report as one of the Best Law Firms in America. She teaches frequently, has published numerous articles, and also serves as a Neutral Arbitrator on the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association.

Eager to support her alma mater and women as professionals, in 2017 she established the Caroline G. Harris Endowment for Leadership for exceptional students who have demonstrated leadership, interest or accomplishments regarding laws and policies affecting women and minorities and concerning gender. Ms. Harris is the recent past President of the not-for profit organization Women in Housing and Finance (www.whf-ny.org) that was honored by NASDAQ for its leadership in promoting diversity in the housing and finance industries. She is Vice President of the Board of Directors of City Lore, a not-for-profit whose mission is to foster NYC’s living grassroots diverse cultural heritage. She is a photographer and creative writer. She is married to Howard Goldman and has three terrific step children, two married, and an amazing grandson.

Howard Goldman

GoldmanHarris LLC

Following his introduction to land use while practicing law in Alaska, Howard Goldman has been a full-time zoning and land use attorney in New York City since 1980. Prior to co-founding Goldman Harris LLC, he was the Deputy Counsel to the New York City Planning Commission, a partner at two large Manhattan law firms, a partner at a medium-sized Manhattan firm, and a solo practitioner. Howard understands land use from public and private, as well as large and small business perspectives, and enjoys working with all parties in achieving his clients’ goals. 

Goldman Harris LLC is a boutique with practice limited to land use in New York City. Howard’s law partner is his wife, Caroline Harris, who has a similar legal background, including at the Counsel’s Office of the Department of City Planning and experience at major law firms. Goldman Harris strives to combine the high standards of a large firm with the flexibility afforded by a small one. The firm’s work ranges from advising clients with respect to “as-of-right” projects not involving discretionary approvals to applications for zoning changes, special permits, variances, landmarks approvals, and interpretations of the Zoning Resolution. Along with experienced attorneys, the firm includes professionals having expertise in architecture, project management and the Building Code. 


Jeffrey K.

Outstanding course! Clear, interesting and well presented.

Daoud A.

Great overview and explanation of a complex process!


Great course!

Henry S. S.

Very informative. Very well-presented. Very professional sharing of information and presentation. Thank you very much.

Steven B.


Michael I. C.

Great presentation!

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