Mayor Eric Adams recently unveiled an ambitious plan that seeks to overhaul zoning laws as part of his efforts to build 100,000 new homes over the next decade. The plan— touted by Adams as the biggest “residential zoning changes since New York City’s zoning code was passed in 1961” — loosens restrictions for developers in attempts to mitigate the city’s housing crisis.
The proposal eliminates parking mandates for new housing and allows for larger building sizes if at least 20 percent of the units are affordable. If approved, it would also lift the ban on building new single-occupancy rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchens; allow for more studio apartments in larger buildings, and allow homeowners with large enough lots to build a second unit (up to 800 square feet) with the option to generate rental income.
“What we’re proposing will benefit every neighborhood and every New Yorker,” said Adams. “This is what the ‘City of Yes’ looks like — yes to more density, more flexibility and sustainability.”
Additional changes put forth in the proposal include: allowing existing Mitchell-Lama middle-income housing complexes and churches with large parking lots or vacant lots to build new housing under new zoning regulations; allowing two to four stories of residential development in areas with commercial overlays, and permitting office-to-residential conversions citywide rather than only in pockets of Manhattan.
The City Planning Commission is expected to kick off public review in spring 2024, followed by a final New York City Council vote potentially as early as next fall. Proposals will enter scoping and environmental review this fall, with initial rounds of public meetings scheduled through the end of year.