November 21, 2023

NYC to pay 15 homeowners up to $400K to build apartments on their properties

The city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) on Tuesday launched the "Plus One ADU" pilot program to help qualifying homeowners add an additional small home on their properties, known as an accessory dwelling unit. The city will pay 15 owners of single-family homes up to $395,000 to build the units, which could be backyard cottages, attic conversions, garage studios, basement apartments, or in-law suites. The pilot program aims to spur the creation of affordable housing amid the city's current crisis while also providing homeowners with extra income.
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September 12, 2023

City Planning approves zoning changes to make it easier for NYC to go green

New York City is taking steps to accelerate climate-friendly projects. The City Planning Commission on Monday voted to approve the City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality, a set of 17 citywide zoning changes that will help the five boroughs reach carbon neutrality goals by removing barriers to greener energy, transportation, buildings, and water and waste systems. The changes will help NYC reach its target of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
January 10, 2023

NYC’s plan to convert office space into housing could create 20,000 homes

In December, Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a plan to address the needs of post-pandemic New York by creating mixed-use neighborhoods in central business districts to draw more residents, businesses, and tourists. The plan advocated for the much-discussed idea of converting vacant office buildings into homes, a solution that tackles both the city's housing crisis and lagging retail growth by making zoning laws more flexible. On Monday, Adams announced a list of specific recommendations for converting underused offices into 20,000 homes for 40,000 New Yorkers over the next decade.
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December 15, 2022

Proposal calls for transforming NYC’s commercial districts into 24/7 destinations

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday announced a new plan to improve New York City as a place to live and work and help prepare it for a post-pandemic world. An essential part of the plan involves the reimagination of the city's central business districts, Midtown and Lower Manhattan, by transforming them into dynamic, mixed-use neighborhoods that will draw more residents, businesses, and tourists. The plan also includes proposals to transform public space by expanding preexisting pedestrian spaces and envisioning new projects for the public realm.
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June 2, 2022

Mayor Adams proposes changes to city zoning rules to create more housing

Mayor Eric Adams wants to turn New York into a city of "Yes in my backyard." During an event hosted by the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) on Wednesday, the mayor introduced three citywide zoning amendments that would spur affordable housing creation, support small businesses, and reduce the city's carbon footprint. Under Adam's "City of Yes" plan, the Zoning for Housing Opportunity amendment would allow for a variety of housing types, make it easier to convert office space into housing, and reduce "unnecessary parking requirements" at developments.
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November 21, 2019

City’s Soho/Noho report addresses affordable housing, zoning, and small business success

The Department of City Planning (DCP), along with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Margaret Chin, released on Wednesday the Envision Soho/Noho report, a comprehensive summary of findings and recommendations that address issues and guide future plans for downtown Manhattan's Soho and Noho neighborhoods. The report represents the result of a six-month-long community engagement series on the two historic neighborhoods, aimed at addressing their unique challenges in the 21st century. Contained in the report is a detailed summary of the engagement process that presents the perspectives of participants, as well as recommendations for guiding future plans for improving quality of life, addressing housing concerns, and supporting the unique mixed-use character of these neighborhoods.
More from the report, this way
September 30, 2019

Report suggests looking to zoning to speed up subway accessibility; map shows which lines lag

Despite recent progress–and a federal lawsuit–only 23 percent of New York City's 493 subway and Staten Island Railway (SIR) stations are fully ADA-accessible, a statistic which puts the city dead last among the country’s 10 largest metro systems for accessibility of its transit stations. The MTA has made a commitment to funding accessibility in its much-discussed Capital Plan, but hundreds of stations are still without without plans for ADA access. On Friday Speaker Corey Johnson and the City Council released a report showing that the use of zoning tools to incentivize or require private development projects to address subway station access could speed up progress toward the goal of system-wide ADA access–and simultaneously cut public expense. The report, and an interactive map, show the current system, future plans and what the use of zoning tools could accomplish.
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July 25, 2018

New map from NYC Planning displays all zoning and land use applications dating back to 1970

The Department of City Planning launched a new data tool on Tuesday that displays the status of all zoning and land use applications dating back to 1970. The Zoning Application Portal, or ZAP, provides the public an easy way to search through 28,000 projects and pending applications, 500 of which are currently in public review. "This online tool is the ultimate in planning and zoning transparency," Marisa Lago, director of DCP, said. "It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s intuitive. We hope that New Yorkers – residents, advocacy groups, property and business owners – take full advantage, and get more involved in planning for our city’s future."
Explore the Zap Map
December 13, 2017

INTERVIEW: Zoning and land-use attorney Michael Hiller fights to uphold the Landmarks Law

Michael Hiller is a zoning and land-use attorney who has represented community groups in seemingly impossible quests for about 20 years. His high-profile cases have often been against the Landmarks Preservation Commission, notably Tribeca's iconic Clock Tower Building and new construction along historic Gansevoort Street, both of which are pending appeal by the defendants. As one legal observer commented, "He has become an expert in the nuances of the Landmarks Law from a legal perspective. In court, he is very talented on his feet before a very hot bench, before judges who ask a lot of tough questions." His successes have won him designation as a Super Lawyer every year since 2009 as well as the 2017 Grassroots Award from the Historic Districts Council. 6sqft recently visited Michael at his office to learn more about his work.
Ahead, hear from Michael and learn more about his current cases
May 20, 2016

40 Percent of Manhattan’s Buildings Would Be Unbuildable Today

Many feel that the city's current construction boom is unprecedented, but while towers may be reaching new heights, according to a new report by architecture firm KPF, nearly three-quarters of the city's existing square footage was actually built between the 1900s and 1930s. More interestingly, The Times points out that forty percent of the buildings that currently make up Manhattan could not be built today because they break at least one zoning code violation—among which include being too tall, having too many residential units, or having too much commercial space.
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