Mitch Korbey to speak at the AREAA East Meets West Conference

emwIn the Zone: Biggest Changes coming to New York

Mitch Korbey will speak on a panel that will consider zoning changes made under the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations, which are enhancing real estate development opportunities in the Midtown East area of Manhattan and New York City’s outer boroughs. For more information, click here.


November 1, 2016

Speakers Include:

  • Bennet Dunkley (Principal, Vice President, Helpern Archtects)
  • Robin A. Kramer (Duval Stachenfeld)
  • William Silverman (Managing Director / Group Head of Investment Sales, Hodges Ward Elliott)
  • Mitch Korbey (Partner and Chair, Land Use & Zoning Group, Herrick, Feinstein LLP)

Land Use & Zoning Alert: Department of City Planning Releases Framework for Proposed East Harlem Rezoning

The New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) has released its proposed framework for the rezoning of East Harlem. East Harlem is one of the seven neighborhoods identified by the administration for increases to residential density which would be subject to the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing requirements adopted in March 2016. DCP proposes to significantly upzone portions of Park, Second and Third Avenues, with buildings having the potential to reach up to 30 stories. We are actively following this proposal, which is expected to enter public review in April 2017, and will keep you updated.

Should have any questions generally, or about a specific project site, please contact Mitch Korbey or Anne McCaughey.

Mitch Korbey Moderates a Panel of Heavy Hitters at Bisnow’s LIC State of the Market

korbey_m_squareOn Thursday morning October 27th, Mitch Korbey will be moderating a panel on the State of the Market in LIC at Bisnow’s fall event. Speakers include Shibber Khan (Criterion), Seth Pinsky (RXR), Rachel Loeb (World Wide) and Steve Klein (Brickman).

“It’s a solid, growing residential community and it can field a team with the Mets players living there, but it needs to mature as a live/work community, and I’m not sure it’s there yet,” he tells Bisnow.

 

De Blasio administration considers major changes to NYC’s air-rights policy

Welcome back to the Herrick Zone.  We have a new editor and intend to revitalize the blog to keep you current on news and updates that involve land use and zoning issues.

De Blasio administration considers major changes to NYC’s air-rights policy

Herrick’s Land Use & Zoning team will be monitoring the developments of the De Blasio Administration as they consider policy recommendations in the near future over the city’s air rights. If the city decides to adopt any reforms, they would fall into two broad areas that were discussed at a meeting with city officials and stakeholders on September 30th. The first would involve private transactions, which allow developers to buy unused square footage from owners on the same block. The second area of discussion concerned landmarked buildings as owners often have the right to build much bigger structures but can’t because of the building’s protected status.

For the full article on Crain’s New York click here.

Please continue to follow this blog for updates and information.

Bisnow: Long Island City State of the Market

27, 2016 at 7:30am
Mitch Korbey will moderate a panel at Bisnow’s Long Island City State of the Market. Panelists at the annual event will explore the challenges, excitement and market forces behind the meteoric rise of Long Island City. For more information, click here.

Issues in TRANSFERRING DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS in New York City: Previously-Granted Variances

While transferring unused development rights can potentially enable construction at otherwise prohibited densities, such transfers often introduce issues that, if unaddressed, can derail a project long after money has changed hands.  This article focuses on one such issue, namely that discretionary NYC Boards of Standards and Appeals (BSA) approval is required before transferring unused development rights to, or from, sites benefiting from variances that were previously granted by the BSA.  For example, in Bella Vista v. Bennett, 89 N.Y. 2d 565 (1997), the sending site (seller) benefitted from a BSA variance, but the parties purported to effect the transfer without obtaining the necessary BSA approval.  The receiving site (purchaser) was later denied a building permit to use the subject development rights, and then sued the City (wherein ultimately, the purported transfer was invalidated, because the required BSA approval was not obtained).

BACKGROUND 

NYC regulates development intensity, including by limiting the square footage of zoning floor area (ZFA) (i.e., so-called “development rights”) permitted without discretionary zoning approval.  A site’s maximum ZFA depends on its applicable lot area, which sometimes can be exceeded using ZFA from another, adjacent zoning lot.  The most common way is by a zoning lot merger, whereby adjacent zoning lots (with consent from owners, lenders and other interested parties) are combined into an enlarged zoning lot, with a maximum ZFA equaling that of the sum of each of the individual constituent zoning lots.  Unused ZFA can be reallocated to a specific site in the new zoning lot that is targeted for future development.

BSA APPROVAL 

While otherwise not required to transfer unused development rights by “traditional” zoning lot merger, BSA approval is needed where a newly-enlarged zoning lot would include a site that has previously been granted a BSA variance.  The appropriate BSA application is to reopen, and amend, the original variance.  BSA’s approval is not automatic, but rather a circumstantial inquiry of whether the variance would be undermined.  See, e.g., BSA Cal. No. 885-78-BZ (2009) (citing Bella Vista).

FINAL THOUGHTS 

Before transferring unused development rights in NYC, confirm whether any relevant site benefits from a BSA variance.  If so, review any underlying BSA documentation to evaluate the likelihood of BSA approval.  Responsibility should be allocated (between a seller and a purchaser) for pursuing any necessary BSA approval.  A well-drafted agreement can establish crucial protections, including deadlines and consequences.

While this article focuses on one discrete issue, there are many considerations in transferring unused development rights in NYC, the failure of which to evaluate could be problematic.

This Week at the City Planning Commission, 9/30

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For the most part, much of the public drama over the Department of City Planning’s East Midtown proposal has been played out.  At this point, most anyone with a stake in New York City real estate has (often quite forcefully) thrown in their two cents:  architectural pundits and practitioners, big-time property owners, citywide civic advocacy groups, a consortium of affected Community Boards, present and presumptive Manhattan Borough Presidents, and nearly every faction of the fourth estate.  But ultimately—or likely penultimately, as the City Council will most certainly take its turn to weigh in—it finally comes down to what the City Planning Commission thinks, and its moment arrives this week.

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Park Here: Changes to Parking Regulations in the Manhattan Core

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In May, the City Council adopted a zoning text amendment that revised the parking regulations in the “Manhattan Core,” the area south of 96th Street on the east side and south of 110th Street on the west side.  Since 1982, this area of Manhattan has been subject to parking regulations that differ from those in effect in the rest of the City, in part due to an effort to reduce pollution after the Clean Air Act and an acknowledgement that the number of cars in the congested areas of central Manhattan should be limited.  Parking is not required for any new development in the Manhattan Core and is only permitted in limited amounts.

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This week at the City Planning Commission

 

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For those of you planning to attend this week’s CPC public hearing session, remember that the host venue is the National Museum of the American Indian, in the former U.S. Custom House building, at One Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan.  When the CPC expects an extraordinary turnout for a public hearing, it makes special arrangements to move the proceedings—normally at its headquarters at 22 Reade Street—to an offsite location, and this week’s agenda should validate the move.

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Who’s Who in New York City Land Use: A Beginner’s Guide to City Agencies

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In the world of land use and real estate development here in New York City – even to those of us who work in (or are students of) it – it can sometimes feel like a foreign language is being spoken, with all the jargon, acronyms and bureaucratic titles involved.

Today’s entry provides a primer on some of the key players in local government who share some responsibility for writing, interpreting and applying the myriad rules and regulations one must navigate long before – and sometimes long after – the proverbial “first shovel” goes into the ground.  In a future post we’ll explain some of the frequently heard terms that describe the rules and issues that we as planners deal with on a daily basis.

After the jump, in alphabetical order (by acronym, as that’s how they we typically refer to them), are just some of the city agencies with a role in the land use process.  If you’re considering any kind of development within the five boroughs, you’ll be getting to know one or more of these entities along the way.  (And for further information on the responsibilities of each, click on the name to visit the official Web site.)

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