City of Yes overarching goal to build more housing across the city

New York Construction Report staff writer

Three citywide zoning text amendments will tackle NYC’s housing shortage, create affordable housing and accelerate the transition to renewable energy.

Beginning in Bronx and Brooklyn, City Will Plan for Next Generation of Economic Hubs in All Five Boroughs, Take Steps to Cut Red Tape While Investing in Communities and Centering Equity

Mayor Eric Adams say changes will help New York to become a more inclusive, equitable “City of Yes.” The plan includes three major citywide amendments – zoning for economic opportunity, zoning for housing opportunity, and zoning for zero carbon along with initiatives to cut red tape and center equity in planning.

“We are going to turn New York into a ‘City of Yes’ — yes in my backyard, yes on my block, yes in my neighborhood,” said Adams. “These proposals focused on economic recovery, affordable housing, and sustainability will remove red tape for small businesses, expand housing opportunities in every neighborhood, and accelerate the transition to our energy future.”

He says the “overarching” goal is to build more housing across the city and change the rules to enable it, starting now.

“All throughout New York there are places we could be developing and building. It’s suited for people to live, but city zoning laws put artificial limits on the number of studio apartments per building so those developments never get built. We’re going to change that no to a yes.

Zoning for Housing Opportunity will encourage the creation of more housing in neighborhoods across the entire city. This amendment will:

  • Expand opportunities for affordable and supportive homes for New Yorkers by increasing the floor area ratio for all types of affordable housing, similar to the allowance already afforded to affordable housing for seniors;
  • Broaden the acceptable variety of housing types and sizes, including studios, to accommodate a wider range of families and households;
  • Ease conversions of underutilized commercial buildings into homes; and
  • Reduce unnecessary parking requirements that add cost and take up space in buildings that could be used for additional homes.

Carlo A. Scissura, president and CEO, New York Building Congress says his number-one priority is construction growth, as announced in our ‘100 Years: Policy’ report last month, calling for streamlined approvals, more flexible zoning rules, and elimination of obsolete zoning distinctions.

“Mayor Adams is hitting it out of the park with today’s announcements. We applaud his moving to eliminate burdensome red tape and look forward to working hand-in-hand with his administration to ensure smooth, safe transitions with the changed rules and regulations,” he said.

Finally, Mayor Adams announced the Building and Land Use Approval Streamlining Task Force (BLAST) — a coordinated effort across a dozen agencies to cut red tape, streamline processes, and remove administrative burdens that are slowing down the city’s economic recovery. BLAST will speed up the city review process of private applications for new investments in neighborhoods across the city.

“Mayor Adams’ progressive agenda — which advocates for Zoning for Zero Carbon, amends zoning codes to increase opportunities for more affordable housing, and enriches communities through the creation of new transportation hubs with neighborhood plans — will foster efforts to make New York City more livable and equitable,” said Benjamin Prosky, executive director, American Institute of Architects New York — Center for Architecture.

“Architects and designers look forward to working with the mayor to give form to these ambitious land-use policies with a dedication to innovation, sustainable practice, and design excellence.”

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