A community benefits agreement (CBA) is a legally binding contract between a developer and a community coalition. These agreements are designed to ensure that development projects provide specific benefits to the community in which they are located.
CBAs are becoming increasingly popular, especially in urban areas where development can have a significant impact on the surrounding community. Some of the most common benefits included in CBAs are affordable housing, job training programs, and local hiring requirements. Here are a few examples of successful CBAs:
1. Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront development, Brooklyn, New York: In 2005, a coalition of community groups negotiated a CBA with the developers of a large waterfront project in Brooklyn. The agreement included several provisions to benefit the local community, including the creation of a community center, affordable housing units, and a local hiring requirement for construction jobs.
2. Staples Center, Los Angeles, California: In 1998, the developers of the Staples Center signed a CBA with a coalition of community groups. The agreement required the developers to contribute $1 million to a local affordable housing fund, provide local hiring preferences for construction jobs, and establish a local jobs training program.
3. Chicago’s South Side: In 2006, a coalition of community groups negotiated a CBA with a developer who wanted to build a large shopping center on the city’s South Side. The agreement required the developer to create a job training program for local residents, implement a local hiring requirement for retail jobs, and provide funding for local schools and community organizations.
CBAs are an effective tool for ensuring that development projects benefit the communities in which they are located. By requiring developers to provide specific benefits, CBAs can help mitigate the negative impacts of development and promote economic development in local communities. If you are interested in negotiating a CBA for a development project in your community, be sure to work with experienced legal and community organizing professionals to ensure that the agreement meets your needs and protects your interests.