State Proposes Zoning Override for Commercial-to-resi Conversions

January 20, 2021 – Media Mention
The Real Deal

The Real Deal spoke with Herrick's Land Use and Zoning chair, Mitchell Korbey, about Governor Cuomo's 2022 budget proposal to incentivize the conversion of commercial buildings into affordable housing. The bill would apply to hotels with fewer than 150 rooms and other forms of temporary lodging, as well as class B and C office buildings in Midtown. If enacted, owners of such properties could avoid local zoning restrictions related to light and air requirements for residential conversions.

Mitch noted that the state’s proposal doesn’t incentivize new development in the way that rezoning does, but gives property owners another option saying, "At the end of the day, this is very positive... We ought to be thinking very creatively and flexibly."

The article also notes, "The measure also doesn’t address the logistical and design challenges of turning offices into living space. Korbey noted that other city zoning restrictions, such as the required distance between buildings on a single zoning lot, are left untouched by the state’s proposal." Mitch is quoted as saying, "It doesn’t set aside all aspects of residential zoning."