Land Use Bulletin 2.24.15- The Department of City Planning Releases Zoning Text Proposals for Quality and Affordability



City Planning Takes Next Step in Implementing Mayor’s Housing New York Plan

On Friday, February 20, 2015, City Planning released zoning text proposals to facilitate affordable and senior housing development and promote higher quality buildings, primarily in medium- and high density districts citywide.

As articulated by City Planning, the amendments have four primary goals:

In conjunction with the release of the proposals, City Planning also issued an environmental scoping document for preparation of a draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), and scheduled Wednesday, March 25 for a public scoping meeting.  Their schedule calls for beginning public review in late spring, with completion of public review later in the fall.

Affordable Senior Housing and Senior Care Facilities

The proposals respond to the City’s rapidly growing senior population, a citywide shortage of senior housing, and outdated zoning that has not kept pace with current and evolving senior housing models.  The primary focus of the changes facilitate affordable senior housing.  These include:

Modernized Rules for Shaping Buildings, Reducing Housing Costs, and Promoting Design Flexibility

Proposals address general building envelopes, targeted changes for inclusionary and affordable senior housing, design flexibility, and modifications for constrained sites.

General Building Envelope Modifications

Building Envelopes for Inclusionary and Affordable Senior Housing  

Additional building envelope flexibility in medium and high density districts would facilitate affordable senior housing, and inclusionary housing.   While these developments receive additional floor area for the provision of affordable housing, the contextual envelope restrictions make it difficult to accommodate this floor area without diminishing the quality of the housing.

Updated Rules for Building Variety and Design Flexibility

A number of changes are proposed to provide greater clarity and design opportunities in street wall regulations and line-up provisions; provide more useable court regulations; clarify and simplify retail and other ground floor regulations; and modernize density factor and unit size requirements. The changes would also provide flexibility for development of constrained and irregular lots.

Reduced Parking Requirements for Affordable and Senior Housing

Changes are proposed to reduce or eliminate the parking requirement for affordable and senior housing in many locations, recognizing that such requirements unnecessarily increase the cost of building affordable and senior housing.

The changes would establish the “Transit Zone” which would generally encompass transit accessible locations in multi-family zoning districts, or areas within these districts that reflect low car ownership rates.

Within this Transit Zone, a number of changes would apply:

Outside the Transit Zone, certain other changes would apply:

Where can I get more information? Richard-Barth

Please contact Richard Barth, Senior Advisor for Land Use and Housing Strategies, at 212-616-5845 or with any questions about the proposals and implications and opportunities for your site or development.

About Richard


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