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NYC Land Use Bulletin: City Planning Moves to Restrict Hotel Development in M1 Zoning Districts

Written by Richard Barth, Executive Vice President, Capalino+Company

On April 23rd, the Department of City Planning began the formal public review for a citywide zoning text amendment that would have far-reaching implications by prohibiting the as-of-right development of hotels in all M1 (light manufacturing districts) and allowing them only by City Planning Commission special permit.

Any hotels proposed under this new special permit would be subject to environmental review and the full land use review process (ULURP).  These restrictions would not apply in special mixed use (MX) districts, which are widely mapped throughout the city, as well as certain M1 districts proximate to the airports.  Hotels are currently prohibited in M2 and M3 districts which allow heavier industrial uses.

The text amendment proposal was originally envisioned to apply to only those M1 districts within Industrial Business Zones in order to better support the industrial sector in these areas. The zoning text amendment referred for public review, however, now applies to all M1 districts, with the exceptions noted above.  M1 districts are located in areas of Manhattan (particularly Midtown South and Garment District area) and throughout the other four boroughs.

The amendment also provides a special exemption for transient hotels operated for a public purpose, such as temporary housing assistance or shelters for the homeless.  These would continue to be allowed as-of-right in all M1 districts, including those within IBZs.   Under the amendment, all existing hotels would be considered “conforming” and could continue to operate under the prior rules and enlarge by up to 20 percent.

The M1 Hotel Text Amendment proposal was referred out to all 59 community boards, the five borough presidents, and the borough boards for a 60-day review period.  Following this period, the City Planning Commission is slated to hold a public hearing sometime in July and consider the text amendment prior to final action by the City Council most likely in September and October.

Under the Zoning Resolution vesting provisions, hotel projects that complete their foundations prior to adoption of these restrictions would be considered vested and allowed to continue to be developed under the prior rules.  The text also contains a grandfathering provision that provides hotel projects three years to complete construction if they have received a building permit or a partial permit from the Department of Buildings on or before April 23.

In addition to these proposed restrictions in M1 districts, the City has adopted similar areawide restrictions on hotels as part of its neighborhood rezonings, including East New York, Greater East Midtown, East Harlem, the Far Rockaways, and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx.   Hotel special permits are also contemplated in conjunction with the Inwood rezoning, and zoning proposals for Gowanus.

For more information visit:

If you have an existing hotel in these areas or have a hotel under development, Capalino+Company can assist you in sorting out the implications for your property. Contact Richard Barth at 212-616-5845 or Richard@capalino.com.

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