NYC Rezoning Efforts Center On Housing, COVID Changes

March 13, 2024 – Media Mention
Law360 Pulse

Herrick partner and chair of the Land Use & Zoning practice, Mitch Korbey, was quoted by Law360 Pulse in an article discussing, the New York City Planning Commission's initiatives that aim to encourage housing development in a manufacturing-heavy district of Manhattan and streamline zoning text to promote small business growth.

The City Planning Commission voted to send a package known as the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity plan – reforms intended to bolster economic opportunities and update decades-old zoning regulations – to the New York City Council. Additionally, the Department of City Planning unveiled a preliminary draft of plans to rezone a manufacturing district in Manhattan's Midtown South neighborhood.

The City of Yes for Economic Opportunity plan includes 18 separate tweaks to zoning regulations drafted decades prior. Mitch told Law360 the changes are needed to bring the code up to date with the city's current economic reality.

"It's been amended many times since 1961... I think the resolution is almost as long or about as long as 'War and Peace,'" Korbey said. "But the fact that it's been amended many times doesn't mean, however, that it is where it needs to be in terms of where we are in the 21st century, and it also isn't [where] it needs to be with regard to the post-pandemic recovery."

Under the city's Midtown South Mixed-Use Plan, known as MSMX, the city would rezone 42 blocks to allow for housing development, with the goal of creating a mixed-use neighborhood. With limited exceptions, no housing construction is currently allowed in the area.

"These areas are zoned for manufacturing, where there's virtually no manufacturing," Korbey said. Adding, "There's no reason to keep the manufacturing zoning there, other than it avoids making a difficult decision, which is to say: What should we do?"

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