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NYC Land Use Bulletin: Self-Storage Zoning Amendment Advances to City Council

NYC Land Use Bulletin: Update on the City's Land Use and Zoning Initiatives

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

On November 1, the City Planning Commission (CPC) approved the Department of City Planning’s zoning text amendment to limit as-of-right self-storage facilities in Industrial Business Zones. The City Council has 50 days to hold a public hearing and vote on the proposed amendment.

Industrial Business Zones (IBZs) were first adopted in 2006 to focus efforts for promoting industrial and related business growth in the City’s core manufacturing zones.  Today, there are 20 IBZs, all located outside Manhattan.  The City permits self-storage facilities as-of-right in the M1 portions of these IBZs. Because they are generally low-job generating uses, the City felt that the facilities’ proliferation was at odds with the administration’s economic development goals for these areas.

In response, the Department of City Planning proposed the Self-Storage Zoning Text Amendment to require a City Planning Commission Special Permit for all new self-storage facilities in the M1 portions (“designated manufacturing areas”) of IBZs.   As part of the public review process for the text amendment, City Planning has modified it twice in response to comments from the industry and other stakeholders.

The text amendment approved by the City Planning Commission includes the following elements:

1.  The heart of the amendment continues to require a CPC Special Permit for self-storage facilities in the designated manufacturing areas, except under the following conditions (CPC Special Permits requires full public review under the city’s land use [ULURP] process):

  • Lots equal to or greater than 25,000 sqft: Self storage facilities would be permitted as-of-right- only if they include industrial floor space in the building equivalent to 50 percent of the size of the lot. Half of this floor space must be on the ground floor, with the remainder in the cellar or second story.
  • Lots less than 25,000 sqft: As-of-right facilities would be allowed provided they comply with the industrial space requirements specified above, and they provide a certain number of self-storage units greater than 100 square feet to accommodate business storage.

2. For proposed self-storage facilities that are unable to meet these conditions, a new BSA special permit is required.

Important Rules for Existing Self Storage Facilities

 Under the text amendment, any existing self storage facility in these areas would be considered a conforming use and enlargements and extensions would be allowed without triggering the additional industrial use requirements as long as the size of the lot area is not increased.

However, it will be encumbent on the part of the owner of each self-storage facility in these areas to proactively file documentation satisfactory to the Department of Buildings that the facility existed on the date of adoption.  DOB would be required to establish a deadline and required documentation.  Under the proposed text, if this documentation is not provided in the required time frame set by DOB, the self-storage facility would be considered a non-conforming use.

Richard BarthCapalino+Company will continue to track this text amendment at the City Council over the next 50 days, and are available to consult with you on how these new rules could affect your existing facilities or projects under development.

Contact Richard Barth, Executive Vice President, at 212-616-5845 or Richard@capalino.com.

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