Green ‘fast track’ to cut two years and $100,000 in costs for housing projects

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New York Construction Report staff writer

“Green Fast Track,” a streamlined environmental review process designed to accelerate the production of small- and medium-sized housing projects has been announced in NYC. The goal is to simplify the development of climate-friendly housing by cutting red tape and removing bureaucratic obstacles. The new process could reduce environmental review times by up to two years and cut costs by $100,000 per project.

“Any effort to speed the development of affordable housing projects to New Yorkers in need is welcome,” said Carlo A. Scissura, president and CEO, New York Building Congress. “An estimate has shown that the Green Fast Track could save qualifying projects around $100,000 and two years’ worth of predevelopment activities — all without sacrificing necessary environmental review.

“That’s a game-changer for the mission-driven developers working in communities to deliver this housing.”

To qualify, projects must:

  • be under 250 or 175 units, depending on the zoning district
  • use all-electric heating
  • be outside vulnerable coastal areas or areas with industrial emissions
  • meet remediation standards for areas with hazardous materials or high-ambient noise

Projects exceeding 250 feet in height or located near open space, natural resources, or historically-sensitive areas are not eligible.

New rules, effective immediately, are expected to significantly increase the speed and efficiency of housing development while supporting the city’s climate goals.

“New Yorkers urgently need more options for small and mid-size housing that boosts density, creating positive impacts to the surrounding neighborhood and the climate,” said David Karnovsky, partner, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. “The start of Green Fast Track—with new Type II rules in effect—is a significant milestone in the Mayor’s Get Stuff Built plan” (Karnovsky).

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