Closer LOOK: After the Cap

Taking on the Housing Crunch in the City of Yes

The lifting of the residential FAR cap, approval of the 485-x tax abatement program, and the proposed City of Yes for Housing Opportunity zoning text amendment have the potential to provide New York City developers with new ways to build housing. How might these tools function together to address the city’s housing crisis? And, further, how can we ensure the new housing supply will meet the needs of all New Yorkers throughout the city?

Please join us for a new installment of MAS’ Closer Look series with leaders in development, land use law, and housing as we discuss expectations and potential outcomes of how these tools can shape future development in New York City. Our panelists include Basha Gerhards (senior vice president of planning, Real Estate Board of New York), Frank E. Chaney (counsel at Rosenberg & Estis, P.C.), and Michelle de la Uz (executive director, Fifth Avenue Committee Inc.).

American Planning Association certification maintenance credits will be available for this event. The credit code is #9293611.


Read more about our guest speakers below.

A Closer Look

Hosted at the MAS office in the landmark LOOK building, the Closer LOOK series features talks with policy, preservation, and planning experts exploring the current—and future—concerns facing New York City’s built environment.

Wednesday, July 24
9:00 AM — 10:30 AM

MAS Office
488 Madison Avenue
19th Floor
New York, NY 10022


  • Closer LOOK: After the Cap, July 2024.
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  • Event speakers (clockwise): Frank Chaney (Counsel, Rosenberg & Estis), Michelle de la Uz (Fifth Avenue Committee), Basha Gerhards (Senior Vice President of Planning, Real Estate Board of New York), and moderator Tom Devaney (Senior Director of Land Use and Planning, MAS).
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Frank Chaney, Counsel, Rosenberg & Estis
Frank Chaney is an attorney and former city planner with a combined nearly 30 years of experience working in the fields of zoning and land use planning. After graduating from NYU with a double major in Metropolitan Studies and Economics, he worked at the Department of City Planning as a planner in the Zoning, Manhattan, and Brooklyn offices, and as Deputy Director of the Staten Island offices.  He also worked in the Mayor’s Office of Construction, as Land Use Director for the Staten Island Borough President, and as Assistant Commissioner for Real Estate Planning in the Department of City-wide Administrative Services.  Since graduating cum laude from New York Law School in 2005, he has worked as a zoning and land use attorney at Phillips Nizer, Fried Frank, Bryan Cave, and for the last 10 years as head of the zoning practice at Rosenberg & Estis.  He has served on the NYC Bar Association’s Zoning Committee, and on the Law Committees of REBNY, the Municipal Art Society and the City Club.  He has taught Land Use Regulation at NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, and numerous CLE classes in zoning and land use law.  He has written extensively on zoning, land use and urban planning and is an acknowledged expert in the field.

Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director at Fifth Avenue Committee
Michelle de la Uz is the Executive Director of Fifth Avenue Committee, Inc. (FAC) and has over 25 years of experience in public and community service. Michelle oversees the organization’s mission and comprehensive programs advancing economic, social and racial justice that serve more than 6,000 people with low- and moderate-incomes; a budget of over $10 million and several non-housing affiliate corporations with annual budgets of over $9 million, real estate assets over $260 million, and a housing development pipeline of over 1,750 units, representing $1 billion in total development costs. She serves on several boards including the national board of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and is the Chair of the New York Housing Conference. Additionally, Michelle served as a City Planning Commissioner on the New York City Planning
Commission from 2012-2021.

Basha Gerhards, Senior Vice President of Planning, Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)
Basha Gerhards is the Senior Vice President of Planning with the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). Basha is focused on topics related to housing, land use, zoning, resiliency, and community development at the city, state and federal level. Her work has helped to secure City and State legislation expanding access to housing vouchers, policy changes to facilitate office to residential conversions, and advance major projects delivering much-needed housing for New Yorkers.

Previously, Basha served as a senior land use advisor to then Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. Prior to that, Basha worked at City of New York’s Department of City Planning.

She has an M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University GSAPP and holds a B.F.A. in Historic Preservation, with a concentration in Urban Design & Development, from the Savannah College of Art & Design. 


Tom Devaney, Senior Director of Land Use and Planning, MAS
Tom has served as Senior Director of Land Use and Planning at MAS since 2016. He is a certified planner and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professional with 22 years of public and private sector city planning experience in New York. Tom heads MAS’ planning operations, initiatives, and research projects, and led two major groundbreaking studies on New York City’s Environmental Quality Review (CEQR). 2018’s Tale of Two Rezonings: Taking a Harder Look at CEQR examined development under the rezonings of Long Island City and Downtown Brooklyn. 2023’s Site x Site: A Look Back at Soft Site Development in New York City is an unprecedented analysis of citywide development that demonstrates the limitations of CEQR criteria in reliably estimating future development. Prior to his tenure at MAS, Tom led Langan Engineering’s environmental planning and wetland permitting practices, managing a wide range of projects including Franklin, D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island and the NYPD Training Academy in Queens.