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About Us > Press Releases Printer Friendly Version

March 15, 2006

Rachaele Raynoff, Press Secretary (City Planning) -- (212) 720-3471


User-Friendly Reference Makes Zoning Come To Life With Clear Graphics

March 15, 2006 – City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden today announced the release of a new and richly illustrated Zoning Handbook.  This extraordinary new edition contains abundant photographs, innovative graphics and concise plain-English explanations of New York City’s Zoning Resolution.  As the first revision of the Handbook in 16 years, its much-anticipated release coincides with the most far reaching revision of the city’s zoning since 1961.  The Handbook details and illustrates recent changes to the zoning including mixed-use districts and new contextual zoning districts that have been developed to manage growth and preserve the character of neighborhoods; and it clearly describes new special districts, such as Hudson Yards, with enhanced inclusionary zoning to help promote construction of affordable housing. 

The new edition of the Handbook is a handy reference for people from many walks of life who follow land use and development in the city.  With new color photos and graphics to illustrate building types permitted in the city’s different zoning districts as well as an expanded glossary and other useful information, the Handbook helps explain some of the complexities of the city’s Zoning Resolution.  The new Handbook is being distributed to elected officials and all 59 community boards to assist them in their role in the land use review process.  It will be available in public libraries, through the Department of City Planning’s (DCP) bookstore at 22 Reade Street and may be ordered on the DCP web site at

"The Zoning Handbook is an indispensable tool to explain the basic concepts of zoning and how to apply them and it will be of use to novices and professionals alike.  We expect that the new and improved edition will prove especially valuable in empowering citizens to participate in the city’s land use review process, and in planning for their communities. The Handbook will also help New Yorkers put in perspective the many land use changes they see around them and understand how zoning is used to guide those changes," said Director Burden.  "Like our planning initiatives and public outreach efforts, the picture tells the story -- we have included illustrations that help the user visualize typical development that might occur in each zoning district."

What’s new in this edition of the Handbook:

  • Innovative graphics illustrating typical buildings each zoning district produces with improved explanatory captions.

  • Color photographs of buildings that typify zoning districts in neighborhoods throughout the city.

  • Tables for every zoning district listing applicable bulk regulations including height and setback, parking and yard requirements and minimum lot size.

  • Listings of comparable residential districts for each commercial district.

  • Details on new zoning districts and techniques that have been developed in recent years to manage growth and preserve the character of lower-density neighborhoods with illustrative photographs.

  • Description of waterfront zoning regulations including requirements for public access.

  • A simplified use group chart showing uses permitted in residential, commercial and manufacturing zoning districts.

  • A zoning analysis of a hypothetical "mixed" building with residential and community facility uses.

  • Comparisons of the contextual and non-contextual (or "height factor") zoning options available in the city’s moderate-density districts.

  • An expanded glossary with illustrated plain-English definitions of more than 150 terms from Attic allowance to Zero lot line building.
Zoning Handbook CoverAt 140 pages, the new edition is no thicker than the previous black and white version published in 1990, but has double the information in a more user-friendly format. View an excerpt of the Zoning Handbook.

For more information about the Zoning Resolution, to view zoning maps, information on the land use review process, or to mail-order a copy of the Handbook, please visit  DCP plans to incorporate elements of the new Zoning Handbook on its web site in coming months.

City Planning
The Department of City Planning is responsible for the City's physical and socioeconomic planning, including land use and environmental review; preparation of plans and policies; and provision of technical assistance and planning information to government agencies, public officials, and community boards.

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