Update: New York City Proposes Increased Housing Density in Excess of 12 FAR

March 28, 2024

Herrick's Land Use & Zoning team has learned of a new initiative the City is proposing – as part of its City of Yes for Housing Opportunity zoning text amendment – which aims to raise the floor area cap for residential uses in certain areas of the City.

Currently, the New York City Zoning Resolution (ZR) and the New York State Multiple Dwelling law (MDL) cap the floor area ratio (FAR) for residential uses at 12 FAR. This means the maximum amount of residential floor area allowed on any zoning lot is equal to 12x its lot area. However, the City is now proposing to create new high-density residential zoning districts which will allow for increased residential FARs of 15 or 18.

To take advantage of these FAR increases: (i) the City will need to approve this initiative; (ii) New York State will need to amend the MDL to raise its 12 FAR cap; and (iii) properties owners will have to rezone their property to one of the newly proposed residential zoning districts. As part of such rezoning, the property will be subject to the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which requires that 20%-30% of residential floor area be made affordable to those earning an average of 40%-80% of area median income. Note that rezonings are subject to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR), and public hearings before the local community board and borough president, the City Planning Commission and the City Council.

We will continue to monitor this initiative and provide updates as more details emerge.

Meanwhile, progress continues to be made on the Mayor's other City of Yes initiatives. First, the City Council approved the City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality zoning text amendment on December 6, 2023. Second, the City Planning Commission approved a modified version of the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity zoning text amendment on March 6, 2024. It is now being reviewed and considered by the City Council. Finally, the City of Yes for Housing Opportunity text amendment is currently undergoing environment review and is scheduled to be voted on towards the end of 2024.

For more information on this issue or other land use & zoning matters, please contact:

Mitchell A. Korbey at +1 212 592 1483 or [email protected]
Robert Huberman at +1 212 592 1592 or[email protected]
Vinh Van Vo at +1 212 592 1588 or [email protected]

© 2024 Herrick, Feinstein LLP. This alert is provided by Herrick, Feinstein LLP to keep its clients and other interested parties informed of current legal developments that may affect or otherwise be of interest to them. The information is not intended as legal advice or legal opinion and should not be construed as such.