Tribeca Rezoning Puts the Squeeze on As-Of-Right Hotels

An article from this week’s New York Observer discusses limitations on hotels proposed for Tribeca. Generally, hotels, considered a “commercial” use under the zoning resolution, are permitted in New York City in all commercial zoning districts (which also permit residential uses) and some manufacturing zoning districts (which do not permit residential uses) with no limitations. The proposal, which is part of a general overhaul of the zoning in northern Tribeca, would limit hotels permitted as-of-right in the area to those with 100 rooms or less. This is worth taking a closer look at, since it’s the first time in recent history that the City has proposed restrictions on hotels in a commercial area. Continue reading

Landmarks Begins Process of Expanding Park Slope Historic District

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Continuing its pattern of protecting Brooklyn’s brownstone neighborhoods, yesterday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission began the process of extending the Park Slope Historic District.  The proposed extension to the district, which already covers about 34 blocks, would expand the district significantly.  Judging from the map of the existing and proposed districts, a number of properties that are proposed to be included this time around were purposefully excluded from the original district.  Was this because the Landmarks Commissioners at the time didn’t deem these properties to be architecturally significant?  If that was the case, then why is the district being expanded to include them now? Continue reading

City Finally Considering Elimination of Parking Requirements

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Streetsblog reported last week that the Department of City Planning is re-analyzing its minimum parking requirements in certain neighborhoods with good transit access, such as Downtown Brooklyn, Harlem and western Queens.  Currently, the Zoning Resolution requires that parking be provided for almost all new developments throughout all areas of NYC, with the exception of Manhattan below 110th Street and in a limited area in Queens. Continue reading

NYC Zips Into Future With Car Sharing Text Amendment


A Zipcar, soon to be legitimized by the Zoning Resolution. Image via

This Wednesday, the NYC Planning Commission held a hearing on the City Planning Department’s proposed car sharing zoning text amendment.  The text amendment would officially recognize and regulate car sharing services such as Zipcar.  Currently, Zipcar and other car sharing services are in somewhat of a gray area when it comes to zoning, in that they are not mentioned in the zoning resolution at all.  The proposed text amendment would allow car sharing vehicles in both accessory and public parking garages throughout the city. Continue reading

Council Land Use Committee Says Domi-yes


Last week, the New York City Council’s land use committee unanimously approved CPC Resource’s application for the New Domino development.  As we discussed back in January (when the project was certified), the approval will permit the development of 2,200 units on the Brooklyn waterfront, along with community facility, office and retail space.   The project also includes 660 units of affordable housing, over 4 acres of publicly accessible open space, including a waterfront esplanade and a 1-acre lawn, and the preservation of the landmark Refinery building. Continue reading

Legislation Passed to Amend Loft Law

loft building

This week, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation amending the “Loft Law” to apply to several hundred additional buildings.  The bill aims to bring illegally converted residential buildings into compliance with building and fire codes, and would essentially permit the legalization of such buildings without a variance or rezoning.  The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Martin Milave Dilan (D-Bushwick) in the State Senate and Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-East Williamsburg-Bushwick and the Brooklyn Democratic Leader) in the Assembly, is awaiting signature from the Governor. Continue reading

Judge Sides with City in Adult Use Zoning Case

This week, the New York Supreme Court decided in favor of the City in an “adult use” zoning case (For the People Theatres of NY Inc. v City of New York), drawing yet another chapter to a close in the ongoing saga of adult establishments vs. the City of New York.  As a result of this decision, which places substantial additional limits on the location of adult uses, a number of adult book and video stores that have been operating as “60/40” establishments — businesses where only 40% or less of the floor area is occupied by adult uses — will likely have to close or move elsewhere.  The case, which dates to 2002 (and was remanded from the Court of Appeals), was in response to a 2001 amendment to the Zoning Resolution expanding the definition of “adult establishment.” However, the controversy over the regulation of adult establishments in the Zoning Resolution dates back to at least 1995, when the ZR was originally amended to classify adult establishments as different from other commercial uses.  Continue reading

Food for Zoning Thought


Last month, the City Council approved the FRESH Food zoning text amendment, which is part of an initiative by the city to  create and retain grocery stores in underserved neighborhoods.    Before the passage of this text amendment, there were several barriers in the zoning resolution that made it difficult for full-size grocery stores to open in various neighborhoods throughout the city, including size limits and significant parking requirements.   The FRESH Food text amendment will remove some of these barriers by creating a zoning program to incentivize grocery store development.   As defined in the zoning text, a FRESH food store must be primarily devoted to selling grocery products, and must also meet certain other requirements. Continue reading

City Planning Celebrates 100 Rezonings

With the recent completion of the Carroll Gardens rezoning, City Planning achieved its 100th rezoning since 2002, the year that Mayor Bloomberg entered office and appointed Amanda Burden the Chair of the City Planning Commission. City Planning is now celebrating this accomplishment on its website, which lays out the 100 rezonings on a timeline and an interactive map – they’re both very interesting and really demonstrate the extent to which the city’s zoning map has been changed over a relatively short period of time.

Check it out here: Neighborhoods Count – Celebrating 100 Rezonings