Community Benefits Agreement Criticism

August 10, 2023

Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) is a contract between a developer or corporation and the community that aims to address the potential negative impacts of a particular project. The agreement outlines specific benefits that the developer will provide to the community. These benefits may include jobs, affordable housing, environmental protections, and economic development opportunities. However, despite these benefits, CBAs have been criticized for being inadequate and failing to address the needs of the community.

One of the main criticisms of CBAs is that they are not legally binding. This means that the developer can choose not to comply with the agreement`s terms and face no legal consequences. Thus, critics believe that CBAs provide a false sense of security to the community and that developers will always act in their best interests.

Another criticism of CBAs is that they may not be inclusive of the larger community. CBAs are often negotiated between developers and a small group of community representatives, leading to a lack of input from the broader community. Thus, CBAs may not necessarily reflect the needs and desires of the entire community, especially those who are already marginalized.

Moreover, critics argue that CBAs are often used as a “pay-to-play” scheme. In this scenario, developers may only agree to a CBA to gain community support and avoid opposition to their project. Once the project is approved, the developer may not follow through on the agreement`s terms.

Lastly, some critics believe that CBAs reinforce existing power structures. Developers have a significant amount of power and resources, and CBAs may reinforce these power imbalances by allowing developers to dictate terms that may not fully address the community`s needs.

In conclusion, while CBAs may provide some benefits to the community, they are not without criticism. Critics argue that they lack legal enforcement, may not be inclusive, turn into pay-to-play schemes, and reinforce existing power structures. To address these criticisms, it`s essential to involve the entire community in negotiations and ensure that the agreement`s terms are legally binding and reflective of the community`s needs.